Suppose I told you about a wonderful country where :
–Domestic production of goods is at an all-time high.
–Domestic production of services is an all-time high.
–10-year productivity growth is nearly at the highest level in 40 years.
–Workers are one-third more productive than a decade ago.
–Exports have expanded over the four years of the crisis, while imports have shrunk.
–Exports have grown much faster over the past decade than imports.
Seems like a pipe dream, doesn’t it? Wouldn’t you like to live in that country?
But wait! You can live in that country…..(see below)
In fact, many of you already do…..because these are the official economic statistics for the good old United States of America.
The official GDP and productivity statistics tell the story of a country that has already shaken off the dust of the recession, where exports are booming, where workers have shown spectacular productivity gains.
Sure does seems different than the economy most of us live in, doesn’t?
Makes you wonder if these numbers come from an alternative universe, where the U.S. is prosperous and economically healthy.
Let’s go to the official charts:
Stat #1: The gross domestic product of goods officially hit a new high in real terms in the first quarter of 2010. (Note: There are other ways to calculate goods output, but this one flows right out of the GDP statistics).
Stat #2: The real gross domestic product of services officially barely dropped during the worst of the bust, and has resumed its steady climb.
Stat #3: 10-year productivity growth has officially averaged just under 3% a year, despite two recessions.
Stat #4: According to the official statistics, the ‘oughts’ were the best decade for productivity growth since World War II, beating out the 1990s and even the 1960s.
Stat #5: The housing market peaked in early 2006. According to the official statistics, real exports have risen by 14% since 2006Q1, while real imports have fallen by 8%.
Stat#6. Real exports have officially risen faster than real imports over the past decade (starting with 00Q1)
Like I said, an alternative universe.
Added: Tyler Cowen draws a bigger conclusion from these charts
1. The fundamental cause of the financial crisis has been people and institutions thinking they are more wealthy than they are; this spread to Europe as well and now we are seeing the comeuppance.
I’m going to return to this point…it’s absolutely essential