The long-awaited (and feared) fourth-quarter GDP numbers are coming out today, and it’s not expected to be nice for the markets or exchange traded funds (ETFs). Do you know what the numbers actually mean, though?

  • Experts believe that the GDP was falling last year at an annualized 5.4% – which is worse than the 5% they were expecting a week ago.
  • There is also a margin of error of one or two percentage points, give or take, reminds John Crudele for The New York Post.
  • Today’s figure does not mean the economy dropped by that amount in just the last three months of 2008.
  • If the decline is 5.4%, this will be the biggest contraction since an annualized drop of 6.4% in 1982.
  • Today’s GDP is not the final figure, either: we’ll see two more revisions to come in the months ahead.
  • Actually, the figures will be revised for years as the government continues to crunch the numbers.

Lately, we are analyzing the flaws and the problems within the U.S. economy and the market economy. Yes, we are in the throes of less desirable economic conditions, but the past 200 years of capitalism and markets has proven that the capitalist system works, says Mark Perry on Daily Markets.

Perspective can be seen with this: The acceleration of economic economic growth from 1.5% per year in the 19th century to 2% in the 20th century says thattoday our per capital growth would be at $24,475 (similar to 1982) but it’s actually at $42,675 or 74% higher, as explained by Perry.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.