This morning, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released its advance 4th quarter and 2004 year-long economic production totals. The production for the year was $11.7 trillion. For the quarter, the economy grew at a 3.1% real rate and for the year, the economy grew at a 4.4% real rate. The nominal growth rate -- the rate that the federal government needs to watch in relation to increases in spending -- was 6.6%.
While the year wasn't an economic barnburner, it was solid -- better than all but two of the past 20 years. Productivity growth is high, but declining. Profits grew quickly, but the pace of profit growth is now moderating. 2 million more people have jobs this year compared to last year. Inflation is under control, even though there was a steep run-up in energy prices.
Next month, the BEA publishes most of the national accounts. At that time, I will update my charts to reflect information from 2004.