Business: New Yardstick

Economists have long known that the gross national product, the nation's No. 1 economic growth indicator, has a serious flaw. It does not allow for inflation. When prices and production are both swooping up, the G.N.P. greatly overstates the rate of growth of the U.S. economy. When production sags, it understates the drop, since prices tend to hold up. To counteract these price distortions, the Commerce Department brought out a new indicator. Henceforth, along with the regular quarterly G.N.P. expressed in dollars of current value, the department will publish a G.N.P. showing what the actual change would have been if...

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