The Economy of United States

Key Indicators

  2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
GDP $14.06T $14.37T $14.12T $14.62T $15.16T
Unemployment Rate 4.61% 5.82% 9.28% 9.73% 9.59%
Population 301.90M 304.72M 307.37M 310.28M 313.25M

Featured Economic Indicators [ View all 1100 Economic Indicators ]

Gross Domestic Product (Percent change) Gross Domestic Product (U.S. dollars)
Per Capita Gross Domestic Product  (U.S. dollars) GDP (Purchasing Power Parity) (Current international dollar)
Investment (Percent of GDP) Gross national savings (Percent of GDP)
Inflation average consumer prices (Index) Inflation average consumer prices (Percent change)
Inflation (Index) Inflation (Percent change)
Unemployment rate (Percent of total labor force) Labor Force (Persons)
Population (Persons) Government revenue (National currency)
Government revenue (Percent of GDP) Government expenditure (Percent of GDP)
Government net lending/borrowing (Percent of GDP) Government structural balance (Percent of potential GDP)
Government primary net lending/borrowing (Percent of GDP) Government net debt (Percent of GDP)
Government gross debt (Percent of GDP) Current account balance (U.S. dollars)
Current account balance (Percent of GDP)  

Economic Overview of United States

United States Map
The US has the largest and most technologically powerful economy in the world, with a per capita GDP of $43500. In this market-oriented economy, private individuals and business firms make most of the decisions, and the federal and state governments buy needed goods and services predominantly in the private marketplace. US business firms enjoy greater flexibility than their counterparts in Western Europe and Japan in decisions to expand capital plant, to lay off surplus workers, and to develop new products. At the same time, they face higher barriers to enter their rivals home markets than foreign firms face entering US markets. US firms are at or near the forefront in technological advances, especially in computers and in medical, aerospace, and military equipment; their advantage has narrowed since the end of World War II. The onrush of technology largely explains the gradual development of a "two-tier labor market" in which those at the bottom lack the education and the professional/technical skills of those at the top and, more and more, fail to get comparable pay raises, health insurance coverage, and other benefits. Since 1975, practically all the gains in household income have gone to the top 20% of households. The response to the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 showed the remarkable resilience of the economy. The war in March-April 2003 between a US-led coalition and Iraq, and the subsequent occupation of Iraq, required major shifts in national resources to the military. The rise in GDP in 2004-06 was undergirded by substantial gains in labor productivity. Hurricane Katrina caused extensive damage in the Gulf Coast region in August 2005, but had a small impact on overall GDP growth for the year. Soaring oil prices in 2005 and 2006 threatened inflation and unemployment, yet the economy continued to grow through year-end 2006. Imported oil accounts for about two-thirds of US consumption. Long-term problems include inadequate investment in economic infrastructure, rapidly rising medical and pension costs of an aging population, sizable trade and budget deficits, and stagnation of family income in the lower economic groups. The merchandise trade deficit reached a record $750000000000 in 2006.

Nation History

United States Map
Britains American colonies broke with the mother country in 1776 and were recognized as the new nation of the United States of America following the Treaty of Paris in 1783. During the 19th and 20th centuries, 37 new states were added to the original 13 as the nation expanded across the North American continent and acquired a number of overseas possessions. The two most traumatic experiences in the nations history were the Civil War (1861-65) and the Great Depression of the 1930s. Buoyed by victories in World Wars I and II and the end of the Cold War in 1991, the US remains the worlds most powerful nation state. The economy is marked by steady growth, low unemployment and inflation, and rapid advances in technology.

Source(s): CIA World Factbook