Locate current data for GDP for the U.S. (Go to the Bureau of Economic Analysis Web site

| November 24, 2016

1. GDP Data Analysis

Locate current data for GDP for the U.S. (Go to the Bureau of Economic Analysis Web site. Click on Interactive Data Tables, then National Income and Product Accounts, and then Frequently Requested NIPA Tables to get to Table 1.1.1). What are the annual growth rates for the U.S. economy over the last 5 – 10 years? Has GDP been growing or declining over this time-frame? Explain what factors might have caused GDP to increase or decrease over this time-frame.

Next, what are the quarterly growth rates (annualized) for the U.S. economy for the last six quarters? What trends do you notice in these numbers? Does anything surprise you? Comment on GDP growth for the different components of GDP (C, I, G, and Xn) over this time frame?


1. Go to www.bea.gov

2. Click on the “Interactive Data” tab at the top (with the green arrow).

3. Under “National Data” select “GDP & Personal Income”.

4. Click on the blue-shaded button in the middle of the left-hand side that says, “Begin Using the Data”.

5. Select “Section 1 – Domestic Product and Income”.

6. Select the link that says, “Table 1.1.1. Percent Change From Preceding Period in Real Gross Domestic Product (A) (Q)”.

7. Use the “Modify” and “Chart” buttons to manipulate the data you want and how to view it.

8. Note that these numbers are the percent change from the preceding period.

2. GDP and Economic Well-being

Then read the following four articles and answer these questions:

Is GDP a good measure of economic well-being? Why, why not? What are its limitations? What are some factors that would lead to higher GDP in the U.S. but do not improve well-being?

Website Articles

The Economist Measuring What Matters


The Donella Meadows Archive Why Should We Be Glad when the GNP Goes Up? http://www.sustainabilityinstitute.org/dhm_archive/index.php?display_article=vn184gnped

The Donella Meadows Archive Gross National Happiness Measures Quality Of Life:


AMERICA 2.0: From Private Greed to Public Service What’s wrong with the GDP?


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