Glushkin Sheff details:
Fully 3.3 percentage points of the 5.7% headline real GDP tally for Q4 in the U.S. came from the arithmetic boost of reduced inventory liquidation. We went back over the past 50 years and found that such a boost from inventory adjustments is basically a 1-in-10 event. Not only that, but historically we see real GDP slow about 90% of the time the following quarter — with a contraction occurring almost 40% of the time.
On average, the sequential slowing in real GDP growth is 430 basis points, so this would suggest, that if past is prescient, we should expect growth to come around a 1½% annual rate for the current quarter. The consensus, meanwhile, is looking for something closer to 2.7% at an annual rate for 2010 Q1.