BEA Releases Final Estimate of Fourth Quarter and Annual GDP (April 2019)
During the fourth quarter of 2018 wholesale trade, mining, and information were the leading contributors to the increase in U.S. economic growth. For the wholesale trade industry group, real value added—a measure of an industry’s contribution to GDP—increased 9.1 percent in the fourth quarter, after increasing 7.4 percent in the third quarter. Mining increased 38.0 percent in the fourth quarter, after no increase in the third. This was the largest increase for the industry since the fourth quarter of 2008 and primarily reflected an increase in oil and gas extraction. Real GDP growth slowed to 2.2 percent in the fourth quarter from 3.4 percent in the third quarter. Finance and insurance was the leading contributor to the deceleration with real value added for the industry group decreasing 6.2 percent in the fourth quarter, after increasing 5.5 percent in the third quarter. Retail trade decreased 2.5 percent in the fourth quarter, after increasing 6.3 percent, and was the second leading contributor to the slowdown. The deceleration was primarily attributed to other retail, which includes health and personal care stores, gasoline stations, and nonstore retailers. Construction decreased 2.1 percent, after increasing 2.9 percent.
For all of 2018, annual Real GDP increased 2.9 percent (that is, from the 2017 annual level to the 2018 annual level). Information; professional, scientific, and technical services; and durable goods manufacturing were the leading contributors to the increase in real GDP. For information services, real value added increased 8.5 percent in 2018, after increasing 7.1 percent in 2017, primarily reflecting an increase in data processing, internet publishing, and other information services. Professional, scientific, and technical services increased 5.5 percent, after increasing 3.4 percent in 2017. This was the largest increase since 2008. Durable goods manufacturing increased 5.4 percent, after increasing 3.2 percent in 2017. The growth primarily reflected increases in motor vehicles, bodies and trailers, and parts as well as computer and electronic products.