Announcing the New Third Edition of “The Structure of Production”

Federal Government Introduces a New Macro Statistic: A Triumph in Supply-side “Austrian” Economics and Say’s Law

Mark Skousen, The Structure of Production. New York University Press. Third revised edition, 2015, 402 pages. $26 paperback. Available on Kindle.

To buy the book: NYU, Amazon
Quarterly data for Gross Output can be found at the BEA site here.
For Skousen’s latest quarterly report on GO, see this.

From the cover:

SoP3coverweb2In 2014, the U. S. government adopted a new quarterly statistic called gross output (GO), the most significance advance in national income accounting since gross domestic product (GDP) was developed in the 1940s. The announcement comes as a triumph for Mark Skousen, who advocated GO twenty-five years ago as an essential macroeconomic tool and a better way to measure the economy and the business cycle. Now it has become an official statistic issued quarterly by the Bureau of Economic Analysis at the U. S. Department of Commerce.

Quarterly data for Gross Output can be found at the BEA site here.

For Skousen’s latest quarterly report on GO, see this.

Since the announcement, Gross Output has been the subject of editorials in the Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, and other financial publications, analyzed in the Eastern Economic Journal, and is now being included in leading economics textbooks, such as Roger Leroy Miller’s new 18th edition of Economics Today. Economists are now producing GO data for other countries, including the UK and Argentina.

In this third printing of Structure of Production, Skousen shows why GO is a more accurate and comprehensive measure of the economy because it includes business-to-business (B2B) transactions that move the supply chain along to final use. (GDP measures the value of finished goods and services only, and omits most B2B activity.) GO is an attempt to measure spending at all stages of production.

As Dale Jorgenson, Steve Landefeld, and William Nordhaus conclude in “A New Architecture for the U. S. National Accounts,” “Gross output [GO] is the natural measure of the production sector, while net output [GDP] is appropriate as a measure of welfare. Both are required in a complete system of accounts.”

Skousen states, “Gross Output fills in a big piece of the macroeconomic puzzle. It establishes the proper balance between production and consumption, between the ‘make’ and the ‘use’ economy, between aggregate supply and aggregate demand. I make the case that GO and GDP complement each other as macroeconomic tools and that both should play a vital role in national accounting statistics, much like top line and bottom line accounting are employed to providing a complete picture of quarterly earnings reports of publicly-traded companies.”

He concludes, “Because GO attempts to measure all stages of production (known as Hayek’s triangle), it is a monumental triumph in supply-side ‘Austrian’ economics and Say’s law.”

Using GO, Skousen demonstrates that consumer spending does not account for two-thirds of the economy, as is often reported in the financial media, but is really only 30-40% of total economic activity. Business spending (B2B) is over 50% of the economy, and thus is far larger and more important than consumer spending, more consistent with economic growth theory, and a better measure of the business cycle. (See chart below.)

GO1stQtr2015-B

About the Author

MARK SKOUSEN is a Presidential Fellow at Chapman University in California. He has taught economics and finance at Columbia Business School, and is a former economic analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency. He received his Ph. D. in economics at George Washington University (1977). He is the editor-in-chief of the investment newsletter Forecasts & Strategies, and author of several books, including The Making of Modern Economics.

Reviews

“Now, it’s official. With Gross Output (GO), the U.S. government will provide official data on the supply side of the economy and its structure. How did this counter revolution come about? There have been many counter revolutionaries, but one stands out: Mark Skousen of Chapman University. Skousen’s book The Structure of Production, which was first published in 1990, backed his advocacy with heavy artillery. Indeed, it is Skousen who is, in part, responsible for the government’s move to provide a clearer, more comprehensive picture of the economy, with GO.” — Steve H. Hanke, Johns Hopkins University (2014)

“The development of Gross Output is a good idea and a better measure [of economic activity] than GDP.” — David Colander, Eastern Economic Journal (2014)

“This is a great leap forward in national accounting. Gross Output, long advocated by Mark Skousen, will have a profound and manifestly positive impact on economic policy.” –Steve Forbes, Forbes magazine (2014)

“Skousen’s Structure of Production should be a required text at our leading universities.” (referring to second edition) –John O. Whitney, Emeritus Professor in Management Practice, Columbia University

“Monumental. I’ve read it twice!” (referring to first edition, published in 1990) — Peter F. Drucker, Clermont Graduate University

“I am enormously impressed with the care and integrity which Skousen has accomplished his work.” — Israel Kirzner, New York University

For Interviews or Lectures

To interview Dr. Mark Skousen or arrange a lecture, contact him at mskousen@chapman.edu, or Valerie Durham, Media Relations, 410-570-0535, or email her at vdurham@skousenpub.com.

# # #

New Gross Output and B2B Data Confirm Economic Slowdown, But No Recession

Washington, DC (Thursday, April 23, 2015):  Gross Output, a broader measure of U. S. economic activity published by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, grew much more slowly in the 4th quarter of 2014, confirming a slowdown in the economy into 2015.  According to today’s BEA release, real GO advanced at an annualized rate of only 2.6% to $31.4 trillion by the end of 2014, half the rate of the 5.2% jump in the 3rd quarter.

Gross Output (GO) is a measure of sales or receipts of all industries throughout the production process, including business to business transactions (B2B).  Most B2B activity is left out of GDP statistics.

Since the financial crisis of 2008-09, GO has risen faster than GDP, and that continued to be the case in the 4th quarter.  GO advanced at a slightly faster pace than GDP.  Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which measures the value of final goods and services only, rose 2.2% in real terms to $17.7 trillion in the fourth quarter.  The fact that GO is still growing faster than GDP suggests that the economic recovery is still in place, and a recession is unlikely.

Business Spending (B2B) Slows

B2B activity also continued to slow into 2015.  According to the new Skousen B2B Index, business spending increased at a lower annualized rate (2.5%) compared to the 3rd quarter.  See the chart below.

150423_Gross_Output_2

“The GO data and my own B2B Index demonstrate that total US economic activity has slowed significantly, but not enough to cause an actual recession,” stated Mark Skousen, editor of Forecasts & Strategies and a Presidential Fellow at Chapman University.  “B2B spending is in fact a pretty good indicator of where the economy is headed, since it measures spending in the entire supply chain.”

Skousen champions Gross Output as a more comprehensive measure of economic activity.   “GDP leaves out a big part of the economy, business to business transactions in the production of intermediate inputs,” he notes.  “GO includes most B2B activity that is vital to the production process.”

Skousen first introduced Gross Output as a macroeconomic tool in his work The Structure of Production (New York University Press, 1990, new third edition forthcoming in July, 2015).  Now the BEA publishes GO on a quarterly basis in its “GDP by Industry” data, the first aggregate statistic to be published on a quarterly basis since GDP was introduced in the 1940s.

“Gross Output and GDP are complementary aspects of the economy, but GO does a better job of measuring total economic activity and demonstrates that business spending is more significant than consumer spending,” he says.  “By using GO data, we see that consumer spending is actually less than 40% of economic activity, not the 70% figure that is reported by the media.”

According to the Skousen B2B (business to business) Index, total business spending throughout the production process reached $23.0 trillion in the 4th quarter 2014, compared to personal consumption expenditures of $12.1 trillion.  “Thus, we see that business spending is almost twice the size of consumer spending in the US economy,” concludes Skousen.

Note:  Ned Piplovic assisted in providing technical data for this release.

For More Information

The GO data released by the BEA can be found at www.bea.gov under “Quarterly GDP by Industry.”  Click on interactive tables “GDP by Industry” and go to “Gross Output by Industry.”  Or go to this link directly:   http://www.bea.gov/iTable/iTable.cfm?ReqID=51&step=1#reqid=51&step=51&isuri=1&5114=q&5102=15

For more information on Gross Output (GO), the Skousen B2B Index, and their relationship to GDP, see the following:

Mark Skousen, “At Last, a Better Way to Economic Measure” lead editorial, Wall Street Journal, April 23, 2014:  http://on.wsj.com/PsdoLM

Steve Forbes, Forbes Magazine (April 14, 2014): “New, Revolutionary Way To Measure The Economy Is Coming — Believe Me, This Is A Big Deal”: http://www.forbes.com/sites/steveforbes/2014/03/26/this-may-save-the-economoy-from-keynesians-and-spend-happy-pols/

Mark Skousen, Forbes Magazine (December 16, 2013):  “Beyond GDP: Get Ready For A New Way To Measure The Economy”: http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2013/11/29/beyond-gdp-get-ready-for-a-new-way-to-measure-the-economy/

Steve Hanke, Globe Asia (July 2014):  “GO: J. M. Keynes Versus J.-B. Say,” http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/go-jm-keynes-versus-j-b-say

To interview Dr. Mark Skousen on this press release, contact him at mskousen@chapman.edu, or Valerie Durham, Media Relations, email her at vdurham@skousenpub.com.

# # #

U. S. Economic Activity Advances 5.2% in 3rd Quarter 2014

Washington, DC (Thursday, January 22, 2015):  Gross Output, a broader measure of U. S. economic activity published by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, advanced to nearly $31.3 trillion in the third quarter of 2014, a 5.2% jump in real terms (annualized).  The GO data released by the BEA can be found at  http://www.bea.gov/iTable/iTable.cfm?ReqID=51&step=1#reqid=51&step=51&isuri=1&5114=q&5102=15

Gross Output (GO) is a measure of sales or receipts of all industries throughout the production process, including business to business transactions.

As has been the case throughout 2014, GO advanced faster than GDP.  Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which measures the value of final goods and services only, rose 5.0% in real terms to $17.6 trillion in the third quarter.

“The GO data demonstrates that the economy is still accelerating,” stated Mark Skousen, editor of Forecasts & Strategies and a Presidential Fellow at Chapman University.  Skousen champions Gross Output as a more comprehensive measure of economic activity.  “GDP leaves out a big part of the economy, business to business transactions in the production of intermediate inputs,” he notes. “GO includes most B to B activity that is vital to the production process.”

Skousen first introduced Gross Output as a macroeconomic tool in his work The Structure of Production (New York University Press, 1990, new third edition forthcoming in 2015).  Now the BEA publishes GO on a quarterly basis in its “GDP by Industry” data, the first aggregate statistic to be published on a quarterly basis since GDP was introduced in the 1940s.

“Gross Output and GDP are complementary aspects of the economy, but GO does a better job of measuring total economic activity and demonstrates that business spending is more significant than consumer spending,” he says.  “By using GO data, we see that consumer spending is actually less than 40% of economic activity, not the 70% figure that is reported by the media.”

According to the Skousen B-to-B Index, total business spending throughout the supply chain reached $23.0 trillion in the 3rd quarter 2014, compared to personal consumption expenditures of $12 trillion.  “Thus, we see that business spending is almost twice the size of consumer spending in the US economy,” concludes Skousen.

Skousen also notes that during downturns GO tends to fall faster than GDP, while during expansions GO rises faster than GDP.

Note:  Ned Piplovic assisted in providing technical data for this release.

For More Information

For more information on Gross Output (GO), B to B activity, and their relationship to GDP, see the following:

Mark Skousen, “At Last, a Better Way to Economic Measure” lead editorial, Wall Street Journal, April 23, 2014:  http://on.wsj.com/PsdoLM

Steve Forbes, Forbes Magazine (April 14, 2014): “New, Revolutionary Way To Measure The Economy Is Coming — Believe Me, This Is A Big Deal”:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/steveforbes/2014/03/26/this-may-save-the-economoy-from-keynesians-and-spend-happy-pols/

Mark Skousen, Forbes Magazine (December 16, 2013):  “Beyond GDP: Get Ready For A New Way To Measure The Economy”:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2013/11/29/beyond-gdp-get-ready-for-a-new-way-to-measure-the-economy/

 

To interview Dr. Mark Skousen on this press release, contact Valerie Durham, Media Relations, vdurham@skousenpub.com.

# # #

Young Economist Duplicates My 4-Stage Model in his Business Card!

Last week I met Cesar Daniel Pailacura, a young economist in Argentina, at the Austrian economics conference last week in Rosario.  If you look closely, you will see that his business card is a duplicate of my four stage model of the economy taken from “The Structure of Production”.

SkousenArgentina2SkousenEconoLogicGDPAlternative100313-300x145

As you can see, each stage of his business card adds value:  The first stage of his business card is his Facebook page; the second stage is his personal email address; the third stage has his telephone number; and the final stage is his full name (meeting in person).

Clever!

Professional Journal Publishes First Academic Article on Gross Output

“For forecasting, the new measure [Gross Output] may be more helpful than the GDP measure, because it provides information of goods in process.”  — David Colander (Middlebury College)

I am happy to announce that the first professional economics journal (Eastern Economic Journal) has published an article on Gross Output, the new macro statistic I’ve been advocating and now has been adopted by the federal government.

GO is an attempt to measure spending at all stages of production, the first statistic to be adopted since GDP was invented in the 1940s.  It is a way of measuring Hayek’s triangle, and I’ve found that the quarterly GO statistic a better, broader measure of the economy and a good predictor of final output (GDP).  In 2014, it has been rising faster than GDP, suggesting that the earlier stages of production are robust and predicting more growth ahead.

I consider the government publishing of a quarterly GO the greatest triumph in supply-side Austrian macroeconomics since Hayek won the Nobel prize 40 years ago.

The commentary is by the respected economist David Colander (Middlebury College), who, despite the headline, is largely positive about GO.  You can read his article here: http://www.palgrave-journals.com/eej/journal/v40/n4/full/eej201439a.html

And my response here: http://www.palgrave-journals.com/eej/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/eej201465a.html

Austrian economists are now seeking to measure GO (or my own broader Gross Domestic Expenditures) in other countries, such as UK and Argentina.

Econologically yours, AEIOU,

Mark Skousen

US Economic Activity Jumps Sharply in Q2

For Immediate Release
Contact: Valerie Durham, vdurham@skousenpub.com

U. S. ECONOMIC ACTIVITY JUMPS SHARPLY IN 2ND QUARTER 2014

Washington, DC (Friday, November 14, 2014):  Gross Output, a broader measure of U. S. economic activity published by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, advanced to nearly $30.9 trillion in the second quarter of 2014, a 4.8% jump in real terms (annualized).  The GO data released by the BEA can be found at  http://www.bea.gov/iTable/iTable.cfm?ReqID=51&step=1#reqid=51&step=51&isuri=1&5114=q&5102=15

Gross Output (GO) is a measure of sales or receipts of all industries throughout the production process, including business to business transactions. 

GO advanced slightly faster than GDP.  Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which measures the value of final goods and services only, rose 4.6% in real terms to $17,328.2 billion in the second quarter. 

“The GO data demonstrates that the economy recovered sharply from the slowdown in the first quarter,” stated Mark Skousen, editor of Forecasts & Strategies, who champions Gross Output as a more comprehensive measure of economic activity.   He first introduced Gross Output as a macroeconomic tool in his work The Structure of Production (New York University Press, 1990).  Now the BEA publishes GO on a quarterly basis in its “GDP by Industry” data.  [Read more…]

Missing Link in Economics Revealed!

by Mark Skousen
Presidential Fellow, Chapman University

For centuries economists have been searching for the missing link that would tie microeconomics (theory of the firm and individual behavior) with macroeconomics (theory of the economy as a whole).

I believe my four-stage model of the economy does just that.  Based on Austrian macroeconomics (known as Hayek’s triangles), I created a four-stage model of the macro economy in my book, The Structure of Production (NYU Press, 1990).  A few years later, John Taylor of Stanford University (famous for his Taylor Rule) independently produced a 4-stage micro model involving four stages in the production of Caribou Coffee.

A eureka moment!

I’ve incorporated both 4-stage micro and macro models in my textbook, Economic Logic (Capital Press, 2014), now in its 4th edition.  See especially chapter 14:  <http://www.amazon.com/Economic-Logic-Fourth-Edition-Skousen/dp/1621572226 It’s available in book print and Kindle.  If you want to buy it at a discount for only $34.95 plus S&H, call Eagle Publishing at 1-800-211-7661, and use code ECONL6.

SKOUSEN – TAYLOR LINK MACRO WITH MICRO

Figure 1.  Universal 4-stage Macro Model of the Economy

Source:  Mark Skousen, The Structure of Production (New York University Press, 1990); Economic Logic (Capital Press, 2014).

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 2.  4-stage micro model (production process of Caribou Coffee) 

Source:  John B. Taylor, Economics, 5th edition (Boston:  Houghton Mifflin, 2006)

U.S. Economy Doing Better Than Expected

U. S. ECONOMIC ACTIVITY HOLDS STEADY IN 1ST QUARTER 2014

Washington, DC —  Gross Output, a broader measure of  U. S. economic activity published by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, held steady at $30,210.6 billion in the first quarter of 2014.

“The GO data demonstrates that the economy is not as bad off as GDP figures initially suggested,” stated Mark Skousen, editor of Forecasts & Strategies and a Presidential Fellow at Chapman University, who champions Gross Output as a more comprehensive measure of economic activity.   He introduced Gross Output as a macroeconomic tool in his work The Structure of Production (New York University Press, 1990).  Now the BEA publishes GO on a quarterly basis in its “GDP by Industry” data.

The GO data was released by the BEA on Friday, July 25, 2014:  http://www.bea.gov/iTable/iTable.cfm?ReqID=51&step=1#reqid=51&step=51&isuri=1&5114=q&5102=15 [Read more…]