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United States:
Economy

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Other pages in this profile of the United States:
Geography, People, Government, Communications & Transportation, Military & Transnational Issues.
Economy - overview
Definition
The US has the largest and most technologically powerful economy in the world, with a per capita GDP of $46,000. 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 2004-07 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 2005-2007 threatened inflation and unemployment, yet the economy continued to grow through year-end 2007. 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 $847 billion in 2007. Together, these problems caused a marked reduction in the value and status of the dollar worldwide in 2007.
GDP (purchasing power parity)
Definition - World rank and map
$13.84 trillion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)
Definition
$13.84 trillion (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate
Definition - World rank and map
2.2% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita
Definition - World rank and map
$45,800 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector
Definition
agriculture: 0.9%
industry: 20.5%
services: 78.5% (2007 est.)
Labor force
Definition
153.1 million (includes unemployed) (2007 est.)
Labor force - by occupation
Definition
farming, forestry, and fishing 0.6%, manufacturing, extraction, transportation, and crafts 22.6%, managerial, professional, and technical 35.5%, sales and office 24.8%, other services 16.5%
note: figures exclude the unemployed (2007)
Unemployment rate
Definition - World rank and map
4.6% (2007 est.)
Population below poverty line
Definition
12% (2004 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share
Definition
lowest 10%: 2%
highest 10%: 30% (2007 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index
Definition - World rank and map
45 (2007)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)
Definition - World rank and map
2.9% (2007 est.)
Investment (gross fixed)
Definition - World rank and map
18.8% of GDP (2007 est.)
Budget
Definition
revenues: $2.568 trillion
expenditures: $2.73 trillion (2007 est.)
Public debt
Definition - World rank and map
60.8% of GDP (2007 est.)
Agriculture - products
Definition
wheat, corn, other grains, fruits, vegetables, cotton; beef, pork, poultry, dairy products; fish; forest products
Industries
Definition
leading industrial power in the world, highly diversified and technologically advanced; petroleum, steel, motor vehicles, aerospace, telecommunications, chemicals, electronics, food processing, consumer goods, lumber, mining
Industrial production growth rate
Definition - World rank and map
0.5% (2007 est.)
Electricity - production
Definition - World rank and map
4.062 trillion kWh (2005)
Electricity - consumption
Definition - World rank and map
3.816 trillion kWh (2005)
Electricity - consumption per capita
Definition - World rank and map
12,559.9 kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports
Definition
19.8 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports
Definition
44.53 billion kWh (2005)
Oil - production
Definition - World rank and map
8.322 million bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - consumption
Definition - World rank and map
20.8 million bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - consumption per 1,000 people
Definition - World rank and map
68.5 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - exports
Definition - World rank and map
1.048 million bbl/day (2004)
Oil - imports
Definition - World rank and map
13.15 million bbl/day (2004)
Oil - proved reserves
Definition - World rank and map
21.76 billion bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas - production
Definition - World rank and map
490.8 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption
Definition - World rank and map
604 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption per capita
Definition - World rank and map
1,988 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports
Definition - World rank and map
19.8 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - imports
Definition - World rank and map
117.9 billion cu m (2005)
Natural gas - proved reserves
Definition - World rank and map
5.551 trillion cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance
Definition - World rank and map
-$738.6 billion (2007 est.)
Exports
Definition - World rank and map
$1.149 trillion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports - commodities
Definition
agricultural products (soybeans, fruit, corn) 9.2%, industrial supplies (organic chemicals) 26.8%, capital goods (transistors, aircraft, motor vehicle parts, computers, telecommunications equipment) 49.0%, consumer goods (automobiles, medicines) 15.0% (2003)
Exports - partners
Definition
Canada 21.4%, Mexico 11.7%, China 5.6%, Japan 5.4%, UK 4.3%, Germany 4.3% (2006)
Imports
Definition - World rank and map
$1.965 trillion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports - commodities
Definition
agricultural products 4.9%, industrial supplies 32.9% (crude oil 8.2%), capital goods 30.4% (computers, telecommunications equipment, motor vehicle parts, office machines, electric power machinery), consumer goods 31.8% (automobiles, clothing, medicines, furniture, toys) (2003)
Imports - partners
Definition
China 16.9%, Canada 15.7%, Mexico 10.6%, Japan 7.4%, Germany 4.8% (2006)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold
Definition - World rank and map
$70.57 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt - external
Definition - World rank and map
$12.25 trillion (30 June 2007)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home
Definition
$1.967 trillion (2007 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad
Definition
$2.627 trillion (2007 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares
Definition
$17 trillion (2005)
Economic aid - donor
Definition
ODA, $23.53 billion (2006)
Currency (code)
Definition
US dollar (USD)
Exchange rates
Definition
British pounds per US dollar: 0.4993 (2007), 0.5418 (2006), 0.5493 (2005), 0.5462 (2004), 0.6125 (2003)
Canadian dollars per US dollar: 1.0724 (2007), 1.1334 (2006), 1.2118 (2005), 1.3010 (2004), 1.4011 (2003)
Japanese yen per US dollar: 117.99 (2007), 116.18 (2006) 110.22 (2005), 108.19 (2004), 115.93 (2003)
euros per US dollar: 0.7345 (2007), 0.7964 (2006), 0.8041 (2005), 0.8054 (2004), 0.8860 (2003)
Chinese yuan per US dollar: 7.61 (2007), 7.97 (2006), 8.1943 (2005), 8.2768 (2004), 8.2770 (2003)
Fiscal year
Definition
1 October - 30 September


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