US government changing its economic stats ... going back decades

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The government went back and checked its numbers — back, in some cases, 60 years — and on Friday it released the results, with changes big and small as the statisticians tried to calculate how well the economy had done and where Americans were spending their money.

The results? The American economy was a little stronger than we thought when times were good, but worse when times were bad.

The government decided that it should measure the impact of big disasters in a different way to avoid distortions in some statistics and that it had been overestimating the amount of consumer spending that goes to health care.

The result was revisions in economic statistics going all the way back to 1947, when it turns out a downturn was a little deeper than had been thought.

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