UNITED STATES ECONOMIC SITUATION: The US has the largest and most technologically powerfuleconomy in the world, with a per capita GDP of $49,800. In thismarket-oriented economy, private individuals and business firmsmake most of the decisions, and the federal and state governmentsbuy needed goods and services predominantly in the privatemarketplace. US business firms enjoy greater flexibility than theircounterparts in W estern Europe and Japan in decisions to expandcapital plant, to lay off surplus workers, and to develop newproducts. At the same time, they face higher barriers to enter theirrivals 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 militaryequipment; their advantage has narrowed since the end of W orldWar II. The onrush of technology largely explains the gradualdevelopment of a "two-tier labor market" in which those at thebottom lack the education and the professional/technical skills ofthose at the top and, more and more, fail to get comparable payraises, health insurance coverage, and other benefits. Since 1975,practically all the gains in household income have gone to the top20% of households. Since 1996, dividends and capital gains havegrown faster than wages or any other category of after -tax income.Imported oil accounts for nearly 55% of US consumption. Crude oilprices doubled between 2001 and 2006, the year home pricespeaked; higher gasoline prices ate into consumers budgets andmany individuals fell behind in their mortgage payments. Oil pricesclimbed another 50% between 2006 and 2008, and bankforeclosures more than doubled in the same period. In addition todampening the housing market, soaring oil prices caused a drop inthe value of the dollar and a deterioration in the US merchandisetrade deficit, which peaked at $840 billion in 2008. The sub -primemortgage crisis, falling home prices, investment bank failures, tightcredit, and the global economic downturn pushed the U nited Statesinto a recession by mid-2008. GDP contracted until the thirdquarter of 2009, making this the deepest and longest downturnsince the Great Depression. To help stabilize financial markets, inOctober 2008 the US Congress established a $700 bill ion TroubledAsset Relief Program (TARP). The government used some of thesefunds to purchase equity in US banks and industrial corporations,much of which had been returned to the government by early 2011.In January 2009 the US Congress passed and Presid ent Barack
OBAMA signed a bill providing an additional $787 billion fiscalstimulus to be used over 10 years - two-thirds on additionalspending and one-third on tax cuts - to create jobs and to help theeconomy recover. In 2010 and 2011, the federal budge t deficitreached nearly 9% of GDP. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan requiredmajor shifts in national resources from civilian to military purposesand contributed to the growth of the budget deficit and public debt.Through 2011, direct costs of the wars tota led nearly $900 billion,according to US government figures. US revenues from taxes andother sources are lower, as a percentage of GDP, than those ofmost other countries. In March 2010, President OBAMA signed intolaw the Patient Protection and Affordabl e Care Act, a healthinsurance reform that will extend coverage to an additional 32million American citizens by 2016, through private health insurancefor the general population and Medicaid for the impoverished. Totalspending on health care - public plus private - rose from 9.0% ofGDP in 1980 to 17.9% in 2010. In July 2010, the president signedthe DODD-FRANK Wall Street Reform and Consumer ProtectionAct, a law designed to promote financial stability by protectingconsumers from financial abuses, endin g taxpayer bailouts offinancial firms, dealing with troubled banks that are "too big to fail,"and improving accountability and transparency in the financialsystem - in particular, by requiring certain financial derivatives tobe traded in markets that a re subject to government regulation andoversight. Long-term problems include stagnation of wages forlower-income families, inadequate investment in deterioratinginfrastructure, rapidly rising medical and pension costs of an agingpopulation, energy shortages, and sizable current account andbudget deficits - including significant budget shortages for stategovernments.
GDP (purchasing pow er parit y) : $15.08 trillion (2011 est.) countr y comparison to the w orld: 2 $14.81 trillion (2010 est.) $14.46 trillion (2009 est.) note: data are in 2011 US dollars GDP (official exchange rate) : $14.83 trillion (2011 est.) GDP - real grow th rate : 1.8% (2011 est.) countr y comparison to the w orld: 157 2.4% (2010 est.) -3.1% (2009 est.) GDP - per capita (PPP) : $48,300 (2011 est.) countr y comparison to the w orld: 11 $47,800 (2010 est.) $47,100 (2009 est.) note: data are in 2011 US dollars GDP - composition b y s ector : agriculture: 1.2% industr y: 19.2% services: 79.6% (2011 est.)Labor force : 153.6 million countr y comparison to the w orld: 4 note: includes unemployed (2011 est.)Labor force - b y occupation : farming, forestr y, and fi shing: 0.7% manufacturing, extraction, transportation, and crafts: 20.3% managerial, professional, and technical: 37.3% sales and office: 24.2% other services: 17.6% note: figures exclude the unemployed (2009)Unemplo yment rate : 9% (2011 est.) countr y comparison to the w orld: 103 9.6% (2010 est.)Population below povert y line :
15.1% (2010 est.)Household income or consumption b y percentage share : low est 10 %: 2% highest 10 %: 30% (2007 est.)Distribution of famil y in come - Gini index : 45 (2007) countr y comparison to the w orld: 42 40.8 (1997)Investment (gross fixed): 12.1% of GDP (2011 est.) countr y comparison to the w orld: 144Budget: revenues: $2.303 trillion expenditures: $3.599 trillion note: for the US, revenues exclude social contributions of approximately $1.0 trillion; expenditures exclude social benefits of approximately $2.3 trillion (2011 est.)Taxes and other revenues : 15.5% of GDP countr y comparison to the w orld: 191 note: excludes contributions for social security and other programs; if social contributions were added, taxes and other revenues would amount to approximately 22% of GDP (2011 est.)Budget surplus (+) or deficit ( -): -8.7% of GDP (2011 est.) countr y comparison to the w orld: 192Public debt : 67.8% of GDP (2011 est.) countr y comparison to the w orld: 38 62.9% of GDP (2010 est.) note: data cover only wh at the United States Treasury denotes as "Debt Held by the Public," which includes all debt instruments issued by the Treasury that are owned by non -US Govern ment entities; the data include Treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data exclude debt issued by individual US states, as well as intra -governmental debt; intra -governmental debt consists of Treasury borrowings from surpluses in the trusts for Federal Social Security, Federal Employees, Hospital Insura nce (Medicare and Med icaid), Disability and Unemployment, and several other smaller trusts; if data for intra - government debt were added, "Gross Debt" would increase by about one-third of GDP
Inflation rate (consumer prices) : 3.1% (2011 est.) countr y comparison to the w orld: 65 1.6% (2010 est.)Central bank discount rate : 0.5% (31 December 2010) countr y comparison to the w orld: 140 0.5% (31 December 2009)Commercial bank prime lending rate : 3.25% (31 December 2011 est.) countr y comparison to the w orld: 173 3.25% (31 December 2010 est.)Stock of narrow mone y: $2.01 trillion (31 December 2011 est.) countr y comparison to the w orld: 4 $1.742 trillion (31 December 2010 est.)Stock of broad mone y: $12.99 trillion (31 December 2011 est.) countr y comparison to the w orld: 3 $12.07 trillion (31 December 2010 est.)Stock of domestic credit : $32.61 trillion (31 December 2009 est.) countr y comparison to the w orld: 1 $31.53 trillion (31 December 2008 est.)Market value of publicl y traded shares : $15.64 trillion (31 December 2011) countr y comparison to the w orld: 1 $17.14 trillion (31 December 2010) $15.08 trillion (31 December 2009)Agriculture - products : wheat, corn, other grains, fruits, vegetables, cotton; beef, pork, poultry, dairy products; fish; forest productsIndustries : highly diversified, world leading, high -technology innovator, second largest industrial output in world; petroleum, steel, motor vehicles,
aerospace, telecommunications, chemicals, electronics, food processing, consumer goods, lumber, miningIndustrial production grow th rate : 4.1% (2011 est.) countr y comparison to the w orld: 78Current account balance : -$465.9 billion (2011 est.) countr y comparison to the w orld: 194 -$442 billion (2010 est.)Exports : $1.497 trillion (2011 est.) countr y comparison to the w orld: 4 $1.289 trillion (2010 est.)Exports - commodities : 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%Exports - partners : Canada 19%, Me xico 13.3%, China 7%, Japan 4.5% (2011)Imports : $2.236 trillion (2011 est.) countr y comparison to the w orld: 1 $1.934 trillion (2010 est.)Imports - commodities : 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)Imports - partners : China 18.4%, Canada 14.2%, Me xico 11.7%, Japan 5.8%, Germany 4.4% (2011)Reserves of foreign exchange and gold : $148 billion (2011 est.)
countr y comparison to the w orld: 19 $132.4 billion (2010 est.)Debt - external : $14.71 trillion (30 June 2011) countr y comparison to the w orld: 2 $13.98 trillion (30 June 2010) note: approximately 4/5ths of US external debt is denominated in US dollars; foreign lenders have been willing to hold US dollar denominated debt instruments because they view the dollar as the worlds reserve currencyStock of direct foreign investment - at home : $2.577 trillion (31 December 2011 est.) countr y comparison to the w orld: 1 $2.343 trillion (31 December 2010 est.)Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad : $4.328 trillion (31 December 2011 est.) countr y comparison to the w orld: 1 $3.908 trillion (31 December 2010 est.)Exchange rates : British pounds per US dollar: 0.6176 (2011 est.), 0.6468 (2010 est.), 0.6494 (2009), 0.5302 (2008), 0.4993 (2007) Canadian dollars per US dollar: 0.9801 (2011 est.), 1.0302 (2010 est.), 1.1431 (2009), 1.0364 (2008), 1.0724 (2007) Chinese Yuan per US dollar: 6.455 (2011 est.), 6.7703 (2010 est.), 6.8314 (2009), 6.9385 (2008), 7.61 (2007) Euros per US dollar: 0.7107 (2011 est.), 0.755 (2010 est.), 0.7198 (2009), 0.6827 (2008), 0.7345 (2007) Japanese yen per US do llar: 79.67 (2011 est.), 87.78 (2010), 93.57 (2009), 103.58 (2008), 117.99 (2007)