Monday, September 28, 2009

Quarterly GDP 1920 to Present


A PhD student is looking for quarterly GDP figures (nominal and real) from 1920 to the present. Such quarterly numbers are readily available from CANSIM from 1961 to 2008, but I could only find annual GDP for years prior to 1961. Historical Statistics of Canada cite National Income and Expenditure Accounts, Volume 1, The Annual Estimates, 1926-1974, (Catalogue 13-531) as their source but this publication, as its name implies, only presents annual data.

Are quarterly figures for 1920-1960 available through DLI or otherwise?


In the footnotes for the National Income and Expenditure and Related Aggregates, 1926 to 1976 (Series F1-152) section of "Historical Statistics of Canada", I found the following remark:

"The period of measurement for all the data given here is a year. Statistics Canada also publishes quarterly data which are available as far back as 1947."

In keeping with this, there is a publication called "National Income and Expenditure Accounts: Quarterly Estimates" (cat. no. 13-533) which provides gross national product and also gross domestic product at factor cost for 1947-1974.  If you don't have access to this publication, we could fax you Table 3, which shows both Gross National Product at market prices and Gross Domestic Product at factor cost.  However, be aware that due to revisions the data may not be comparable with the 1961+ data you have already found.

Follow-up question

We have that publication and I was able to verify that the quarterly data is presented therein. So as far as you can tell there is no quarterly data prior to 1947?

Follow-up answer

Yes that is correct.  I consulted with our historical catalogues and other reference materials (i.e. Guide to managing Statistics Canada publications in libraries, cat. no. 11-208E) and I could not find any quarterly data on this prior to 1947.

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