The U.S. Economy Grew Less in the Last 39 Years Than in the 26 Years Before That

Earlier this morning, I tweeted out a fact that got a lot of attention so I wanted to flesh it out a bit more.

The US economy grew more in real terms from 1947 to 1973 than from 1973 to 2012. That’s 26 years compared with 39 years, exactly 50% longer.

The total growth was almost exactly the same, but the earlier, and shorter, period won by a nose. To be specific, the U.S. economy grew by 176.84% from 1947 to 1973, and 176.60% from 1973 to 2012. Here’s the data source at the FRED database.


The U.S. economy also grew less over the last 12 years than in the five years prior to that. Over the last 20 quarters (five years), real GDP has grown by 2.41%. Historically, the economy should grow around 16% to 17% over a five-year stretch.

Posted by on January 30th, 2013 at 9:21 am

The information in this blog post represents my own opinions and does not contain a recommendation for any particular security or investment. I or my affiliates may hold positions or other interests in securities mentioned in the Blog, please see my Disclaimer page for my full disclaimer.