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The 2023 comprehensive update to the National Economic Accounts

Changing the reference period for real GDP to 2017

The national economic accounts are the foundation for calculating, among other things, US gross domestic product. The US Bureau of Economic Analysis, which collects and releases GDP data, periodically updates these national economic accounts. On September 28, the BEA released its 2023 comprehensive (or benchmark) update.

Now, FRED has these new data. So, today we turn to Archival FRED (ALFRED) to compare these new data with the old data. The ALFRED graph above shows two different vintages of annual real GDP data between 2017 and 2022. The vintage dates included in the series names are associated with the dates of the comprehensive updates: The red bars represent data from the 2023 update, the latest available at the time of this writing; and the blue bars represent data from the previous comprehensive update, released in 2018.

There are relatively small differences in the annual growth rates of inflation-adjusted GDP between data vintages because comprehensive updates involve changes in the underlying methodology used to measure economic activity. As outlined in this BEA briefing, the latest update also synced the schedule for releasing national GDP and related industry and state statistics within the same timeframe. Lastly, the reference year for inflation adjustment and price measures has been updated to 2017 from 2012.

Additional information about the scope and impact of the 2023 comprehensive updates to the national, industry, and state economic accounts can be found here.

How this graph was created: Search ALFRED for “Real Gross Domestic Product.” By default, ALFRED shows a graph with two sets of bars: the most recent vintage and the prior vintage. Add additional vintages by using the “Add Line” tab and select the date of the desired vintage from the “or select a vintage” dropdown menu. Change the start date and the end date above the graph to customize the number of data points shown.

Suggested by Diego Mendez-Carbajo.

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