US Economy: Most Popular Articles
How much each President actually contributed to the $17 trillion U.S. debt all the way back to President Woodrow Wilson.
Here's national debt by year, compared to the size of the economy and whether there was a recession, war or other catastrophe.
Is the U.S. dollar in danger of an imminent collapse? Find out what would cause it, what would happen next, and the best way to protect your finances.
The value of the U.S. dollar can be measured in three ways - exchange rates, Treasury yields and foreign currency reserves. A
U.S GDP by year measures the output of the U.S. economy during the years since the Great Depression. Look at growth rate, U.S. debt and GDP per capita during recessions, wars and boom times.
Fiscal Year (FY) differentiates an organization's financial year from the calendar year. The Federal government FY 2014 began 10/1/2013, and FY 2015 starts 10/1/2014.
The Federal poverty level refers to either the poverty guideline (who can receive assistance) and the poverty threshold (how many are poor).
Real GDP is the economic output of a country with the effects of inflation taken out while nominal GDP leaves it in. Here's how to calculate real GDP.
Who owns most of the U.S. national debt? Surprise... it's not China, it's the U.S. government. That means it's the American taxpayer, which is you!
GDP is everything produced by all the people and all the companies in the country. Understand GNP, real vs nominal GDP, per capita, and how GDP is used.
Definition of the year-over-year growth rate, how to calculate it, and why using it gives a better sense of a trend than comparing month to month.
Why the value of a dollar today keeps shrinking. How to calculate the value of a dollar.
Foreign direct investment, or FDI, is when businesses from one country invest in businesses in a foreign country. How it works, and the pros and cons.
Definition of a business cycle, including the four stages. The economic indicators to watch. What GDP growth rate you should expect in each phase.
The FY 2015 US Military Budget is $495.6 billion, second only to Social Security. The true cost is $738.8 billion. Why it's so high, and how it's grown since 2006.
The specifics of the auto bailout received by GM, Ford and Chrysler. What the Big 3 promised to give back in return. How it affected the economy.
What are the four major components of GDP? Find out what makes up those components, and why personal consumption drives nearly 70% of the economy.
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act regulates the practices of Wall Street to prevent another financial crisis. Here's a summary of the Act.
What is Obamacare? It requires you to have health insurance or pay a tax. Find out the facts you need to know now about its costs, taxes and pros/cons.
The five determinants of demand are price, income, prices of related goods, tastes, and expectations. There's a sixth determinant for aggregate demand, which is number of buyers. Find out how these factors influence demand, and why everyone needs to know how they work.
A summary of the most popular unemployment solutions, which ones work, and which are the most cost effective solutions.
Obamacare has many pros and cons because it affects everyone differently. Find out what both sides say so you can make up your own mind.
Trade protectionism is how countries try to protect their domestic industries by raising tariffs and reducing imports. Find out the pros and cons.
Two of the largest components of U.S. imports are oil and consumer goods, which are also its biggest exports.
High gas prices are caused by futures investments, not supply and demand. Find out why prices are high, and why they rose from 2008 to the present.
The Dow historical closing high is 17,138.20 set July 16, 2014. Quickly find the DJIA highs and lows during every business cycle since the Depression.
The U.S. Federal budget deficit will be $564 billion in FY 2015. That's a third of the all-time record deficit of $1.4 trillion, set in FY 2009.
The GDP growth rate tells you how fast a county's economy is growing. It compares real GDP from one quarter to the next.
How much Obamacare costs you depends on your income and family size, which determines whether you receive subsidies. Estimate your costs now.
The EU is the world's largest economy, while the U.S. is the country with the largest economy. Those two leaders are followed by China, India and Japan.
The budget deficits for each President all the way back to President Woodrow Wilson. No surprise that Presidents Bush and Obama had the highest deficits.
Quantitative Easing explained, including QE1, QE2, QE3, QE4 and Operation Twist. Why the Federal Reserve adopted this policy and how it works.
The Federal funds rate is the target interest rate banks charge each other to borrow funds overnight to maintain the Federal reserve requirement. The Fed funds rate is critical because it dictates the availability of capital in the economy. That's how the Federal Reserve uses the Fed funds rate is to manage the U.S. economy, especially inflation.
A definition of fiscal policy with links to descriptions of the components of fiscal policy, including revenue, taxes, mandatory spending, discretionary spending, and the budget deficit.
What was in President Barack Obama's economic stimulus package, and how well did it succeed?
Liquidity has two definitions. In the economy, liquidity means how much money there is to spend and invest. In business, liquidity is defined as how easily an asset can be converted to cash.
There are 4 main types of inflation, from creeping to hyperinflation. In addition, there's stagflation, deflation, as well as wage and asset inflation (food, gas and oil). Core inflation is used by the Federal Reserve to control them all.
An introduction to the financial markets, including stocks, bonds, commodities derivatives and their exchanges.
The US debt, at $17 trillion, is the largest in the world. Its grew so much because the Federal government kept spending, but interest rates on Treasuries stayed low.
The definition of cultural diversity, and why it matters in the workplace. How diversity, if managed correctly, can increase profits.
The Obama Economic Stimulus Plan sent out $13 billion in stimulus checks in 2009, part of $65 billion in tax relief.
There are three major causes of economic inflation: demand-pull, cost-push and monetary expansion. However, there are many circumstances that lead to those causes -- including the expectation of inflation itself. Regardless of the causes, the effects of inflation are devastating and difficult to counteract.
The unemployment rate for June 2014 fell to 6.1%. Here's the current and original unemployment rate statistics for every month since April 2007.
The causes of economic recession and the major causes of both the 2008 and 2001 recessions.
NAFTA's purpose was to increase trade between the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Find out the history of NAFTA, and whether its achieved its purpose.
The Federal Reserve System was created in 1913 to be the nation's central bank. Its primary function is to manage inflation with monetary policy.
A brief history of the gold standard, including when the U.S. went off the gold standard, and why.
What is the Federal Reserve doing to control inflation? Find out the tools the Fed uses to manage inflation and even the expectation of inflation.
What caused and finally ended the Great Depression of 1929. Life and unemployment during the depression.
The Stock Market Crash of 1929 kicked off the Great Depression. Here's the facts behind this devastating crash, what caused it and its effects.
A budget deficit occurs whenever a government spends more than it makes, which is nearly every year. Find out why and how it leads to debt.
Find out the similarities and differences between the economic policies of President Obama and President Bush.
In June 2014, the real unemployment rate was 12.1%. This includes discouraged workers and part-timers who'd rather have a full-time jobs.
A traditional economy relies on hunting, fishing and agriculture for its base, and is guided by traditions. A large part of the United States was in a traditional economy until the Great Depression.
The purpose of NATO has expanded beyond the historial reason why it was created, which was to defend Europe. In recent years NATO countries have fought terrorism in Afghanistan, protected civilians in Libya, and combated piracy in the Indian Ocean. The existence of NATO set the stage for today's economic alliances, as well.
The U.S. debt to China in August 2013 was $1.268 trillion, 23% of the debt owned by foreigners. Find out why America is in debt to China, and what would happen if China called in its loans.
The LIBOR rate is what banks charge each other for short-term loans. It's usually close to the Fed funds rate.
The economy rebounded an astonishing 4.0% from the first quarter's downturn. Check here to find BEA revisions in GDP going back to 2011.
A definition of interest rates, including the APR. How interest rates work to stimulate or slow economic growth.
The euro to dollar conversion tells you how many dollars the euro will buy. The euro was worth 99 cents in 2002, and rose to a peak of $1.4718 in 2007.
The consequences of inflation and the effects of inflation on buying power.
The history of U.S. recessions since the Great Depression. Their causes, GDP, and unemployment levels.
Elastic demand is when a price change creates a larger percentage change in the quantity demanded.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI Index) measures inflation each month. Here's how it's calculated and the importance of the Core CPI.
Obamacare explained in a way that's simple enough for your children to understand.
Interest rates are determined by the Fed funds rate and demand for U.S. Treasury notes.
Will the chronic dollar decline cause a collapse? How to protect yourself from it.
Securities are stocks, bonds and other investments. They allow ownership of without taking physical possession and are highly liquid.
A current account deficit occurs when a country has to rely on foreign investors to fund its economic growth. Find out the causes and consequences of a current account deficit.
Inelastic demand is when people's buying habits don't respond very much to changes in the price.
NAFTA cost many workers their jobs in the U.S., and led to exploitation of workers in Mexico. Find out the 6 problems of NAFTA.
A command economy subjugates individual self-interest to a greater societal or economic goals. They are great at mobilizing economic growth quickly, but often produce too much of one thing and not enough of another.
A market economy is where production of goods and services are regulated by the laws of supply and demand.
Jobs outsourcing is how U.S. companies hire lower-paid workers in emerging markets instead of Americans.Here's the different types of outsourcing, and their impact.
What are U.S. Treasury yields and how are they determined? Why yields are at a two-year high 14 months after hitting a 200-year low in June 2012. How high will they go? Understand the relationship between Treasury bond prices and Treasury yields
Throughout its history, the LIBOR interest rate has been close to the Fed funds rate, except during the 2008 financial crisis. Compare the LIBOR rate to the Fed funds rate during that time. Understand when, how and why LIBOR was created.
Mortgages rates rose after falling to a 200-year low in 2012 -- something you aren't likely to see again.
The US trade deficit with China is the largest in the world, and a symptom of global economic imbalance. Find out why there a deficit, and what is being done to correct it.
The 10-year Treasury rate is the benchmark for all other interest rates. It is the yield, or return on investment, for the U.S. Treasury 10-year note.
Which States Have the Best Economies and Job Prospects?
Usually, when stock prices go up, bond values go down. Investors like stocks when the economy is strong, while bonds are a safe haven investment.
President Obama increased the U.S. debt with tax cuts, the Economic Stimulus Act and increased defense spending to more than $800 billion a year.
The U.S. inflation rate is the percent increase or decrease in prices. It was 1.5% in 2013, while the core inflation rate was 1.7%.
Demand-pull inflation is the most common cause of inflation. It's when the demand for a good or service becomes much greater than supply, allowing producers to raise prices. Find out the circumstances that create demand-pull inflation as illustrated by examples.
Inflation is defined as when prices rise over an extended period of time. However, this definition doesn't take into account the types of inflation.
GDP per capita is the economic output (Gross Domestic Product) of a country by person. Compare the 2013 rankings for the ten richest and ten poorest countries using GDP per capita.
A mixed economy seeks to combine the advantages of market, command and traditional economies. Examples.
Not every jobless person is counted as unemployed. That's why you must know the difference between real, natural and structural unemployment.
The Fed's latest outlook says the economy will grow between 2.1 - 2.3% in 2014. Here's what other agencies say about growth, job creation and oil production.
The three main types of unemployment are structural, frictional and cyclical. However,some economists include two more: seasonal and classical.
Treasury bills, bonds and notes have different maturities. Notes are issued at 2,3,5 and 10 years. Treasury notes fund the U.S. debt.
A monopoly is the sole provider of a good or service. Sometimes this is necessary, but usually it hurts the economy. The Sherman Anti-Trust Act doesn't make monopolies illegal, but it does prohibit them from using their position to price-fix.
The trade deficit is when a country imports more than it exports. Find out the causes, the effects, and the difference from a trade surplus.
The ideal GDP growth rate is one that enable the economy to grow at a healthy rate. If growth is too fast, the economy risks inflation. If growth is too slow, the economy risks recession or even depression.
Market capitalization, or market cap, is how investors gauge a company's size -- either by large, mid or small cap. The formula is the number of shares times the share value.
Cost-push inflation causes rising prices by driving up the costs of supply. It doesn't occur very often, but when it does, it's devastating.
A summary of President Ronald Reagan's economic policies, Reaganomics, supply-side economics and the recession of 1981.
The inflation rate was .3% in June. The core inflation rate was 1.9% year-over-year, just under the Fed's target.
The 9/11 attacks had long-ranging economic impacts. Not only did they deepen the 2001 recession, they led to the War on Terror. These costs helped create the largest debt in U.S. history.
Oil prices are determined by open trading on the commodities market. The factors that affect them are primarily supply and demand, but traders perception of future trends in supply and demand are even more important.
Definition of the S&P 500, one of the most closely followed stock market indices.
Whether you are an employee, a business or a country, a competitive advantage is what enables you to beat the competition. There are three primary strategies to gain a sustainable competitive advantage: cost leadership, differentiation and focus.
The effects of Hurricane Katrina's damage to the U.S. economy still linger. Why was Katrina the most destructive natural disaster in U.S. history? Many factors contributed, including Katrina's path through the Gulf oil fields and the heavily-populated City of New Orleans. The damage was worsened when the levees broke, causing massive flooding.The facts around Hurricane Katrina's damage.
Exchange rates determine how much the dollar, or any other foreign currency, is worth compared to another country's currency.
How much does NASA cost? What's the impact of the NASA budget on the U.S. economy.
The U.S. deficit adds to the debt each year, while interest on the debt increases the deficit. This spiraling cost can negatively impact economic growth.
Contractionary monetary policy definition and how the Federal Reserve uses it to avoid inflation. Examples of contractionary monetary policy, including how it caused the Depression and deflation.
NASDAQ definition including what the acronym stands for. NASDAQ bubbles and crashes. The difference between NASDAQ, Dow and S&P 500.
Manufacturing jobs create new products from raw materials. They pay well, but are disappearing thanks to robotics.
Mortgage-backed securities are tradeable assets backed by mortgages, allowing banks more cash to make loans. All went well, until housing prices fell.
U.S. income inequality has worsened significantly in the past 30 years. What is the cause, what can be done about it, and how does it affect you?
A U.S. economic collapse could occur within weeks, as it almost did on September 17, 2008. Several things could cause it, but there are steps you can take to protect yourself.
Financial derivatives are contracts to buy or sell underlying assets. They include options, swaps and futures contracts. Why they're so dangerous.
Hyperinflation is double-digit inflation. It usually caused by a government policy of printing too much money. There's a big difference between hyperinflation and inflation.
The Fed lowered the current Federal Reserve interest rate to near zero on December 16 2008, and signals it intends to keep it there until 2015.
Real GDP per capita is the economic output of a country by person taking out the effect of inflation.
Structural unemployment is defined as unemployment caused by a mismatch between jobs and skills, or other long-term changes in the economy.
Recent news developments lead many to believe another depression is inevitable if it hasn't started already. Here's the arguments pro and con. Page 2.
China's growing economy makes it a major influence on the U.S. economy. China's low standard of living allows it to export cheaply, keeping U.S. inflation low. China is the largest foreign buyer of U.S. Treasuries, which keeps U.S. interest rates low. Find out how the economies of China and the U.S. are interdependent.
Hedge funds are usually defined as private investment funds. They promise great rewards, but also present great risks to both investors and the economy. Investments by unregulated hedge fund managers contributed to the global crisis in 2008. Find out what hedge funds really are, how they work, and whether their high returns are worth their high risks.
Stagflation is when economic growth stagnates while inflation is rising. It only happens under unusual circumstances, like wage-price controls.
Black Tuesday (October 29, 1929) was the fourth and last day of the stock market crash of 1929. Panicked investors stampeded out of stocks, kicking off the Great Depression.
The U.S. trade deficit in 2012 was just under $539.514 billion. It was driven by imports of oil, consumer products and automobiles. The top four trading partners are Canada, China, Mexico and Japan.
An economic recession is when growth slows, usually due to a fall-off in consumer demand. As sales drop off, businesses stop expanding.
The European Union (EU) is one of the largest economies in the world. The nature of the EU is changing daily thanks to the eurozone crisis.
The debt to GDP ratio , how it is used and whether it's a good predictor of default.
The national unemployment rate is the number of people looking for a job divided by the number in the labor force. Although it's a lagging indicator, it is critical in guiding fiscal and monetary policy.
How crude oil prices are measured, and how prices impact you and the economy. Recent oil price trends and history.
The prime rate is what banks charge their best customers. It's slightly higher than LIBOR -- except for during the financial crisis, when they were almost equal!
Mexico's economy is becoming more attractive to investors, as President Pena Nieto opens up its energy industries.
The U.S. is generally considered the world's premier free market economy. That's because the U.S. Constitution guarantees many elements that create a free
The advantages of NAFTA for Mexico, Canada and the U.S. include an increase in trade which has contributed to economic growth.
If bond interest rates drop, so do mortgage interest rates. As bond rates rise, so do mortgage interest rates.
Monetary policy manages inflation and unemployment by controlling interest rates and the supply of money and credit. It is directed by a nation's central bank.
A definition of commodities, the commodities markets and how commodities futures work.
The Gulf Cooperation Council and its members represent the growing power of the Gulf oil-exporting countries. A list of GCC countries include every country in the Arab Peninsula except Yemen.
The IMF, or International Monetary Fund, to the U.S. economy is based in part on the IMF's history.
The balance of trade measures how much a country exports versus its imports. A trade surplus is usually considered a favorable trade balance, while a deficit is usually considered unfavorable. Find out why this is not always true.
The difference between a stock market correction and a stock market crash.
CDOs, or Collateralized Debt Obligations, are a derivative. Banks repackaged loans, including credit card and corporate debt, and sold them to investors.
U.S. economy forecast for the next 10 years for debt, GDP, unemployment, the dollar, oil and gas prices, and the housing market. How it affects you.
Expansionary monetary policy is when a central bank increases the money supply to stimulate economic growth.
An easy-to-understand summary of Obamacare and how it affects your particular circumstance.
Why is Black Friday called Black Friday? The meaning of the name started out as a negative, but was later turned to a positive. Find out both meanings, and where the term
Health care reform will cost billions, but will also save the economy billions in sick time, emergency room costs and improved child care. Find out the economic impact of health care reform.
How is the Federal Reserve monetizing debt? By buying U.S. Treasuries. Where does it get the money? Like other central banks -- out of thin air.
Discretionary fiscal policy is the portions of Federal government taxes and spending that can be changed from year to year.
How crude oil prices affect gas prices, and how swings in oil prices affected gas prices from 2008 to the present.
Many countries peg their currency to the dollar. This means they use a fixed exchange rate to keep the value of their currency at a certain level relative to the dollar. Find out how they do they, and why.
Money has value, but who determines how valuable money is? Find out the different ways money is valued, and why the value of money keeps changing.