Slate Video

The ABCs of GDP 

It’s the standard measure of our economy, but what exactly is it?

The Commerce Department released third-quarter gross domestic product numbers today, showing that the economy grew almost twice as fast over the summer compared to the spring.

Quarterly GDP numbers serve as a ready gauge of the relative health of the economy and are often the first statistic invoked to assess our current collective standard of living.  

But how precisely is GDP calculated and what goes into these numbers? 

Adam Davidson of NPR’s “Planet Money,” with the help of MIT economist Simon Johnson, lays it out in the video below, the first in a series about economic issues produced in collaboration with Slate’s video team.