Government Consumption (from NIPA accounts)

Importance: *

Definition: Government consumption spending represents about 15% of GDP. It covers spending on goods and services (defense, judicial system, education, etc); it therefore excludes the components of government spending that are transfers (such as social security, unemployment benefits, etc.). Government consumption  is much less than private consumption that represents about 60% of  GDP.

Related Indicators: Private Consumption

Source: Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis,. NIPA dataset.

Frequency: Quarterly, revised monthly. The consumption for a given quarter is released together with the GDP figures  in the first month following a quarter as the "advance estimate". The "preliminary estimate" is published in the second month, followed by the "revised" estimate in the third month.

Availability: Three to four weeks following the reported quarter
Direction: Counter-cyclical as it tends to increase during recessions

Timing: Coincident

Volatility: Low

Likely Impact on Financial Markets:

Ability to affect markets: Not very high.
Analysis of the Indicator: Government spending tends to be a constant share of GDP and is not very volatile. More than spending, it is the budget deficit, the difference between total government spending and revenues, that may affect asset prices. The ratio of total government spending to GDP tends to increase during recessions as automatice stabilizera lead to an increase in public spending.

WEB Links

Graphs of the latest consumption and savings data from The Economic Statistics Briefing Room of the White House

A table with the most recent Government Consumption and GDP data from the BEA

The latest GDP report from BEA includes an analysis of the government consumption trends in the latest quarter

See the Dismal Scientist Homepage for charts, tables and analysis of the latest report.

You can chart governmnet consumption and other NIPA data from the NIPA VISUALIZATION PAGE

You can see government consumption charts with the Economic Chart Dispenser

You can create customized government consumption charts with the Economic Chart Maker  Tip: type "GOVERNMENT CONSUMPTION" in the Label section of the form and choose the transformation of the data you are interested in.

An analysis of the 1997-Q-3 GDP report from First Union

An Analysis of the 1997-Q3 GDP report from Morgan Stanley's Stephen Roach
An Analysis of the 1997-Q2 GDP report from Morgan Stanley's Stephen Roach