Gross Domestic Product GDP

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Definition of 'Gross Domestic Product GDP'

GDP is a basic measure of a country's overall economic output. It is the market value of all final goods and services made within the borders of a country in a given time period.

GDP can be measures in three different ways, all of which should give the same result.
  • The product (also know as "output") approach
  • The income approach
  • The expenditure approach
The most direct of the three is the product approach, which sums the outputs of every class of enterprise to arrive at the total.

In the name Gross Domestic Product, "Gross" means that GDP measures production regardless of the various uses to which that production can be put. Production can be used for immediate consumption, for investment in new fixed assets or inventories, or for replacing depreciated fixed assets. If depreciation of fixed assets is subtracted from GDP, the result is called the Net domestic product; it is a measure of how much product is available for consumption or adding to the nation's wealth.

"Domestic" means that GDP measures production that takes place within the country's borders.

This figure is release quarterly by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) at the United States Department of Commerce and usually becomes available during the fourth week of the month. The data released references the prior quarter or revisions to the prior quarter. For example, the January release refers to the last quarter of the previous year, the February release is the first revision of that figure and the March release is the second revision of that number.

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