Here comes GDP ...

The Commerce Department will at 8:30 a.m. ET release its third estimate of first-quarter economic growth.

Gross domestic product, the value of everything produced in America, is expected to be unrevised at 1.2%, according to Bloomberg. That GDP print was revised up from the initial estimate of 0.7% growth, but there’s not been much new information to incorporate since the second estimate in May.

Still, some economists suspect that this underestimated the pace of growth in the US as the Commerce Department has done in every first quarter of this recovery. That’s because of residual seasonality, a quirk that distorts how temporary factors like the weather are accounted for.

Fed participants who decide on monetary policy said in minutes of their May meeting that they thought seasonality at least played a role. Fed staff, however, said it reflected soft consumer spending and inventory investment, not residual seasonality.

The third estimate of GDP “will not be the final word on the subject,” said Ian Shepherdson, the chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, in a note on Thursday. “Indeed, there never will be a final word, because the numbers are revised indefinitely into the future. No wonder the Fed prefers to look at payroll growth as a better proxy for the state of the economy; you can never be sure that the GDP numbers are reliable, especially when looking at short periods.”

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