Q3 GDP: Investment


by Calculated Risk on 10/30/2019 10:07:00 AM

Investment was weak again in Q3, although residential investment picked up (increased at a 5.1% annual rate).

The first graph below shows the contribution to GDP from residential investment, equipment and software, and nonresidential structures (3 quarter trailing average). This is important to follow because residential investment tends to lead the economy, equipment and software is generally coincident, and nonresidential structure investment trails the economy.

In the graph, red is residential, green is equipment and software, and blue is investment in non-residential structures. So the usual pattern – both into and out of recessions is – red, green, blue.

The dashed gray line is the contribution from the change in private inventories.

Click on graph for larger image.

Residential investment (RI) increased in Q3 (5.1% annual rate in Q3). Equipment investment decreased at a 3.8% annual rate, and investment in non-residential structures decreased at a 15.3% annual rate.

On a 3 quarter trailing average basis, RI (red) is up slightly, equipment (green) is slightly negative, and nonresidential structures (blue) is also down.

I’ll post more on the components of non-residential investment once the supplemental data is released.

The second graph shows residential investment as a percent of GDP.

Residential Investment as a percent of GDP increased in Q3, however RI has generally been increasing. RI as a percent of GDP is close to the bottom of the previous recessions – and I expect RI to continue to increase further in this cycle.

I’ll break down Residential Investment into components after the GDP details are released.

Note: Residential investment (RI) includes new single family structures, multifamily structures, home improvement, broker’s commissions, and a few minor categories.

The third graph shows non-residential investment in structures, equipment and “intellectual property products”. Investment in equipment and non-residential structures – as a percent of GDP – declined further.