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So where do the US economic numbers come from? Well, the Federal Reserve, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the US Census Bureau each come up with their own set of data. It’s possible that some data gets lost in the shuffle, especially as newer organizations start to crunch the numbers. But this isn’t the only way to get these numbers.
There’s also BLS Inflation Data, which is collected from different sources and released at the end of the month. There are also the US Retail Sales figures, which release in the middle of the month and come out as a 5.0% increase for August. Since there’s a lot of data out there, it’s hard to digest and figure out the absolute numbers. In short, these numbers are not exact.
According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the US economy is “the total value of the goods and services produced in the United States by the industry and service sectors over the year.” This is called gross domestic product (GDP).
This measure of the US economy is a “snapshot” of the nation’s economy. It doesn’t represent the complete picture of the economy. GDP is just one of many metrics. As noted, it doesn’t include everything.
For example, GDP doesn’t include indirect or “secular” effects. For example, a rise in the tech sector could show up as GDP. But if the stock market crashes, that’s considered a secular effect (hence the reason tech has been in this bubble). But even with those caveats, GDP is a good starting point for understanding how the US economy is doing.
The unemployment rate is arguably the most important economic metric. The more people who have a job, the less unemployment there is. The less unemployment, the more there’s economic growth. The unemployment rate has fallen from 10% in 2010 to 4.4% today.
One thing that’s had a very significant impact on the US economy is the participation rate among young adults. This is the percentage of adults aged 20-24 who are either working or looking for work. In recent years, the participation rate has plunged.
This is usually attributed to the recession and a large number of young people choosing to move to other countries. In 2008, the participation rate was 90% and it’s now down to 78%.
A ggod indicator of a good economy is consumer spending. About 70 percent of the economy is based on consumer spending. It’s directly related to how many people are working and the number of goods and services they’re buying. Americans have become increasingly dependent on consumer spending. The most recent data shows that in 2017, consumers spent more than $1.5 trillion on goods and services.
That’s a 6 percent increase from the previous year. Right now, the economy is going through a solid rebound, especially for big-ticket items like cars and homes.
On Thursday, the Commerce Department released data showing that Americans spent more than $44 billion on new vehicles in last year December. That was the most ever recorded for a single month.
All you have to do is create a free account on the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances. You’ll have access to ten years’ worth of data.
As you can see from the chart below, net worth has been increasing at a fairly steady rate since the recession. It peaked in 2006, the same year that housing prices peaked. It hasn’t really recovered since then, but there are signs that it will soon.
One of the more troubling charts in the survey, however, is the amount of Americans who aren’t working. Since the Great Recession, the number of “partial-time workers” has gone up by 11.5 million.
In other words, the US economy isn’t just seeing an increase in part-time employment. It’s also seeing an increase in part-time employment among young people.
So if you are still interested in Tracking the US Economy : Stay on top of key economic indicators like unemployment, jobs, spending, and economic growth. If they start to trend upward, then the US economy may be recovering.
The US has roughly 300 million people. US national debt is around $19 trillion. The current unemployment rate is around 4.5%. It’s at its lowest point since 2000. Inflation is running between 2% and 3%. Consumer spending on “soft goods” like clothing and household goods is up around 4%. Consumer spending on “hard goods” like appliances and electronics is up about 2%.
The stock market is not a reliable indicator of the US economy, but it has its uses. I see the stock market as a sentiment indicator.
A rising stock market tends to be good news.
A falling stock market tends to be bad.
The two best-performing major markets in 2017 were Japan and China, The two places that have consistently delivered good news for investors over the last couple of years.
The US economy looks healthy. The stock market is high and investors are very optimistic. But does this mean a recession is around the corner? That’s a question that you can’t answer. That being said, just because the economy looks good doesn’t mean that it will be forever. A recession is coming at some point. It’s just a matter of time. The difference now is that we’re starting to see the signs of it.