First a warning. To use the linked spreadsheet, you need Excel 2013 or higher, due to the use of table slicers (not to be confused with pivot table slicers).
This spreadsheet is an Excel dashboard that can be used to analyze U.S. Gross Domestic Product. The percentage change in GDP from the preceding period is the headline number most widely reported. The raw data is a download from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The link is on the “Data” sheet and the download you need is “Percent change from preceding period” as shown below:
Download the data into a clean sheet and then copy/paste the “GDP percentage change based on chained 2009 dollars”. Each time you update the data with a new quarter, copy/paste the whole series from 1947q2 to the end. Paste only the two columns, dates and GDP. If you only type in the new quarter and date, revisions could have taken place and you may not have all the correct data.
Pasting the new data starts at cell B10. Row 10 may not be visible. To make it visible, go the chart sheet and click this symbol in the upper right hand corner of the slicer. This will select all data years and make cell B10 on the data sheet visible:
There is also a link to the recession periods, when and if you need to update them. Recessions need to be typed in. Recession periods are represented by a “1” and non-recession periods are “0”.
The chart sheet shows the “Year” slicer with the last eight years selected. If you are not familiar with slicers, choose the period by picking either the first or last year in the period you are interested in. Then while holding down the shift key, pick the other year in the period. All other dates should be inclusive, as below:
The chart shows the quarterly GDP changes for those years.
The gray background shows recessions. Showing recessions, data labels, and a moving average can be toggled on and off. The yellow input cell is the number of quarters in the moving average.
I have compared the last eight years to all quarterly growth rates since 1947, showing various data:
Be sure to click the blue refresh button, if the data has been changed. The yellow input cells are used to adjust the output data on either side.
At this point, someone might conclude that the first two quarters in 2009 where still part of the recession, and should not be included in the recovery data. In that case go to the second slider called Quarters. All of the quarters in the years chosen are shown in red.
To take the first two quarters of 2009 off the chart and out of the comparison data, click the quarters to be eliminated:
The chart and the comparison data are then corrected for these quarters:
There is also another chart. Below the cluster column chart is a histogram of the distribution of quarterly changes.