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U.S. Economy Statistics

The best way to gauge the health of the U.S. economy is by following the statistics. The good news is you only have to track about half a dozen, instead of the thousands that are available. Find out what they are and how to use them.
  1. Employment and Unemployment (17)
  2. GDP (8)

U.S. Economy 2012
Economic indicators show that the U.S. economy could have done better in 2012. Economic growth was fighting the headwinds of uncertainty caused by the Obamacare, the 2012 Presidential campaign and the fiscal cliff.

Current Inflation Rate
Inflation, and core inflation, rates for every month from December 2007 through the current month.

Consumer Price Index
A description of what exactly is measured in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and how it helps measure inflation in the US economy.

Personal Consumption Expenditures Price Index
The Personal Consumption Price Index (PCE Index) measures inflation. Find out why it's preferred by the Federal Reserve in tracking core inflation, and how it's different from the Core CPI.

Cost of Living
The cost of living compares daily costs between geographic regions, or across time. Find out what is included in the different measurements.

Cost of Living Adjustment
The Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) is a measurement of inflation. It's used by the government and employers to adjust wages or benefits to keep up with higher prices.

Consumer Debt
Average consumer debt statistics show how consumer debt was one of the key forces of economic growth from 2000-2008. It also shows how they cut back on debt during the recession, and are now taking out auto and student loans.

Dollar Index
The dollar index indicates how strong the dollar is compared to a basket of other currencies.

Year-Over-Year Growth Rate
Comparing statistics year-over-year gives a better sense of the trend than month to month or week to week.

Leading Indicator
A statistic that precedes an economic trend.

Durable Goods Orders Report
What the durable goods orders report actually measures.

Interest Rates
How interest rates are determined, from the Fed funds rate to Treasury Notes, and mortgage interest rates. Find out how interest rates affect the economy and you.

Fed Funds Rate
The Fed funds rate, how it works, and why it is important.

Current Fed Funds Rate
The Fed funds rate has been essentially at zero since December 2008 to combat the financial crisis. It is highly unusual for the interest rate to remain so low for so long. However, that's what's been necessary to keep financial markets operational.

Treasury Yields
A definition of Treasury note and bond yields and how they impact the U.S. economy.

Treasury Notes Relationship with Mortgage Rates
When Treasury note yields drop, so do mortgage interest rates. Find out why Treasury yields fell to 200-year lows in June 2012, and what this means for mortgage interest rates.

Crude Oil Prices
How crude oil prices are measured, their impact on the economy, and past trends. Where will oil and gas prices go in the next year?

What Is the S&P 500?
How to use the S&P 500 as an economic indicator.

Lagging Indicator
A statistic that follows the economic trend.

Consumer Confidence Index
Consumer Confidence Index definition, trends, outlook and how it affects the U.S. economy.

Unemployment Rate
Explains what the Unemployment Rate measures, why it is important, and how it affects the U.S. economy. Describes past and potential future trends, and how to use it to improve your financial security.

Income Per Capita
Although income per capita has been improving, the purchasing power of that income has not. Find out why.

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