US Economy: Most Popular Articles
High gas prices are caused by gas and oil futures investments, not by supply and demand. Find out why gas prices are going up again! Explanation of high gas prices from 2008 through the present.
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.
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.
How much each President actually contributed to the $17 trillion U.S. debt all the way back to President Woodrow Wilson.
The value of the U.S. dollar can be measured in three ways - exchange rates, Treasury yields and foreign currency reserves. A
To accurately review debt by year, you should compare it to the size of the economy at that time and whether there was a recession, war or other catastrophe that the Federal government had to respond to.
The Federal poverty level refers to two different measures of poverty: the poverty guideline and the poverty threshold. The guideline determines who is eligible to receive assistance, while the threshold is a statistic reporting how many poor there are in the U.S.
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.
GDP, or Gross Domestic Product, is the most important economic indicator. It measures a country's output, growth rate, and standard of living.
Definition of unemployment, including the difference between the real, natural and structural unemployment. How unemployment statistics are used, and causes and consequences of unemployment.
Causes of the Great Depression of 1929. Life during the Great Depression of 1929. What ended the Great Depression. Unemployment during the Great Depression
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.
Trade protectionism is how countries try to protect their domestic industries by raising tariffs and reducing imports. Find out the pros and cons?
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.
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.
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.
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!
Quantitative Easing explained, including QE1, QE2, QE3, QE4 and Operation Twist. Why the Federal Reserve adopted this policy and how it works.
The causes of economic recession and the major causes of both the 2008 and 2001 recessions.
The value of a dollar today is less than it was in the past, thanks to inflation. How to calculate the value of a dollar.
How much Obamacare costs you depends on your income and family size, which determines whether you receive subsidies. Estimate your costs now.
Definition of a business cycle, including the four stages. The economic indicators to watch. What GDP growth rate you should expect in each phase.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Two of the largest components of U.S. imports are oil and consumer goods, which are also its biggest exports.
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.
Real GDP is the economic output of a country with the effects of inflation taken out while nominal GDP leaves it in. Learn how to calculate real GDP.
What was in President Barack Obama's economic stimulus package, and how well did it succeed?
A Fiscal Year can start in any quarter. The Federal Fiscal Year starts on October 1. Find out why, and review budgets from FY 2006 to the most current.
What are the four major components of GDP? Find out what makes up those components, and why personal consumption drives more than 70% of the economy.
How much does NASA cost? What's the impact of the NASA budget on the U.S. 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.
A budget deficit occurs whenever a government spends more than it makes, which is nearly every year. Find out why, how it is financed and how it leads to debt.
The definition of cultural diversity, and why it matters in the workplace. How diversity, if managed correctly, can increase profits.
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 or week to week.
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.
What was the Dust Bowl of the Great Depression, why did the Dust Bowl happen, and could the Dust Bowl happen again?
The advantages of NAFTA for Mexico, Canada and the U.S. include an increase in trade which has contributed to economic growth.
Securities is a term used to loosely describe stocks, bonds and other investments. Securities allow ownership of corporations and other investments without taking physical possession. They are usually highly liquid, allowing you to sell them easily on the secondary market.
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.
The history of U.S. recessions since the Great Depression. Their causes, GDP, and unemployment levels.
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.
A brief history of the gold standard, including when the U.S. went off the gold standard, and why.
Obamacare explained in a way that's simple enough for your children to understand.
A summary of the most popular unemployment solutions, which ones work, and which are the most cost effective solutions.
The Obama Economic Stimulus Plan sent out $13 billion in stimulus checks in 2009, part of $65 billion in tax relief for individuals and small businesses.
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 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.
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.
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.
Inflation affects your life by reducing buying power. This means you need more money to afford retirement, and it increases the cost of borrowing.
On April 20, 2010, an explosion at the BP oil drill in the Gulf of Mexico created the largest oil spill in the U.S. Compare the economic impact to other environmental disasters.
What are mortgage-backed securities? Just like the name says, they are securities that are backed by mortgages. This innovative investment revolutionized the housing industry by providing banks more money to make loans. All went well, until housing prices went south.
The Federal Reserve System was created in 1913 to be the nation's central bank. Its primary function is to manage inflation. It does with monetary policy, which includes setting interest rates through the Fed funds rate, the discount rate and the discount window. The Federal Reserve Banking System also manages banking liquidity and the money supply through the reserve requirement and many bank regulations. The Federal Reserve is directed by its Board of Governors, which sit on the FOMC. Find out how the Federal Reserve System functions and how it affects you.
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
Traders drove oil prices to $114/barrel for October delivery when the U.S. theatened an airstrike in Syria. High oil prices aren't always based on supply and demand.
The Dow closing record is 16,576.55 set on December 31, 2013. Quickly find the Dow Jones highs and lows during every business cycle since the Great Depression. Understand why the DJIA closing reflects economic highs and lows.
The unemployment rate for January 2014 fell to 6.6%. Here's the original unemployment rate statistics for every month from April 2007 to the most recent report.
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.
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.
China's economy is the 3rd largest in the world, producing more than $12 trillion. Yet it has so many people its standard of living is relatively low.
Jobs outsourcing has sent American jobs to foreign workers. Find out the types of jobs outsourcing, and how outsourcing jobs has affected the U.S. economy.
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.
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.
Mexico's economy is becoming more attractive to investors, as President Pena Nieto opens up its energy industries.
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?
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.
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.
A summary of President Ronald Reagan's economic policies, Reaganomics, supply-side economics and the recession of 1981.
Will the chronic dollar decline cause a collapse? How to protect yourself from it.
GDP per capita is the economic output (Gross Domestic Product) of a country by person. Compare the 2012 rankings for the ten richest and ten poorest countries using GDP per capita.
Find out the similarities and differences between the economic policies of President Obama and President Bush.
Oil prices are determined by open trading on the commodities market, so traders perception of future trends in supply and demand are most important.
Mortgages rates are rising in 2013, after falling to historic lows in June 2012. That's because the yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose 75% in 2013, after falling to a 200-year low in 2012 -- something you aren't likely to see again.
Treasury bills, bonds and notes have different maturities. Notes are issued at 2,3,5 and 10 years (the most popular). Treasury notes fund the U.S. debt, and their yields are the benchmark for bank interest rates.
Find out how Obamacare's complex taxes affect you, especially in 2014. How Obamacare taxes and credits affect businesses.
An easy-to-understand summary of Obamacare and how it affects your particular circumstance.
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 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.
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.
Structural unemployment is defined as unemployment caused by a mismatch between jobs and skills, or other long-term changes in the economy. In other words, it is not caused by phases in the business cycle, such as a recession.
Obamacare requires 10 essential health benefits. Does your insurance provide them?
Inelastic demand is when people's buying habits don't respond very much to changes in the price.
Cyclical unemployment is when demand falls, and businesses lay off workers. It occurs during the contraction phase of the business cycle. It can be a vicious, downward spiral that can only be stopped by Federal government intervention.
NASDAQ definition including what the acronym stands for. NASDAQ bubbles and crashes. The difference between NASDAQ, Dow and S&P 500.
The BEA's advance estimate of GDP growth for Q4 2013 was 3.1%, and 1.9% for the year.
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.
The three main types of unemployment are structural, frictional and cyclical. However,some economists include two more: seasonal and classical. Find out about how unemployment is measured, and why some say it's not the real unemployment rate.
CDOs, or Collateralized Debt Obligations, are a derivative that contributed to the banking liquidity crisis and subsequent recession. Banks repackaged loans, including subprime mortgages, credit card debt and corporate debt, and sold them to investors who didn't really know the value of what they were buying. Neither did the banks.
How the 2011 earthquake in Japan affects the global economy.
Cost-push inflation causes rising prices by driving up the costs of supply. It doesn't occur very often, but when it does, the effects are devastating. Find out what creates cost-push inflation, how it can benefit you, and how to protect yourself from its impact.
Stagflation is when economic growth stagnates while inflation is rising. It only happens under unusual circumstances, like wage-price controls.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI Index) measures U.S. price changes each month. Find out how it's used to measure inflation and deflation, the importance of the Core CPI, and exactly how it's calculated.
A breakdown of the 2015 U.S. Federal Budget, including: revenue projections, discretionary and mandatory spending, and how the deficit adds to the debt.
How crude oil prices affect gas prices, and how swings in oil prices affected gas prices from 2008 to the present.
Discretionary fiscal policy is the portions of Federal government taxes and spending that can be changed from year to year.
A definition of interest rates, including the APR. How interest rates work to stimulate or slow economic growth.
Basic primer on interest rates, including Fed funds rate, Treasury Bonds, mortgage interest rates and the rates on revolving and non-revolving interest rates. Explains how different interest rates are determined. Discusses future interest rate trends, and the impact of an inverted yield curve.
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.
Why tax day was April 17 in 2012, April 18 in 2011 when it is April 15 most other years. History and origins of why April 15 is tax day.
How crude oil prices are measured, and how prices impact you and the economy. Recent oil price trends and history.
Facts about the NAFTA agreement, including history of NAFTA, the benefits and problems with NAFTA for its members Mexico, Canada and the U.S.
Food prices are forecast to rise 3-4% in 2013. Find out the real reasons why, how rising food prices affect the global economy, and why food price inflation will be a concern for years to come.
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.
Expansionary monetary policy is when a central bank increases the money supply to stimulate economic growth. The Federal Reserve has many tools, including the Fed funds rate and open market operations.
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.
The difference between a stock market correction and a stock market crash.
The natural unemployment rate is the amount of unemployment that even a healthy economy will have simply due to job turnover, mismatch between jobs and skills, and minimum wage laws.
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.
The European Union (EU) is the largest economy in the world. It got that way by lowering trade barriers, which was its basic purpose. It was formed in 1993 by the Masstricht Treaty and currently consists of 27 member countries. In 2002, the eurozone was formed around a common currency. The nature of the EU is changing daily thanks to the eurozone crisis.
The inflation rate was .2% in February, and 1.5% for the last 12 months. The core inflation rate was 1.7% for the last 12 months.
The GDP growth rate tells you how fast a county's economy is growing. It compares real GDP from one quarter to the next.
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.
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.
Each MSCI Index measures a different aspect of global stock market performance. The two most widely quoted indices are the MSCI World Index and the MSCI EAFE Index.
The 10-year Treasury rate is the benchmark for all other interest rates, and one of the most closely followed economic indicators. It is the yield, or return on investment, for the U.S. Treasury 10-year note.
Is the U.S. headed towards the Second Great Depression? The financial crisis left the economy in a weakened state. Recent news developments lead many to believe another depression is inevitable if it hasn't started already. Here's the arguments pro and con,and what the probable outcome will be. Page 2.
The LIBOR rate is what banks charge each other for short-term loans. It's usually close to the Fed funds rate.
What exactly is deflation? A simple definition is that it's when prices fall. But deflation is actually a greater threat to the economy than inflation.
The currency of China is the renminbi or yuan. Its exchange rate is controlled by China's leaders to allow cheap exports to the U.S.
Hedge funds are private investment funds. They promise great rewards, but also present great risks to both investors and the economy.
The IMF, or International Monetary Fund, to the U.S. economy is based in part on the IMF's history.
Definition of the S&P 500, one of the most closely followed stock market indices.
A summary of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. Timeline of how the impact of the Act will roll out.
An economic recession is when growth slows, usually due to a fall-off in consumer demand. As sales drop off, businesses stop expanding.
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.
The 2008 bank bailout bill pump funds into failing banks to prevent default. How much was spent, and how well did it address the financial crisis?
Black Thursday in 1929 was the first clue that a historic stock market crash was about to hit.
Understand purchasing power parity and you can use it to accurately compare the standard of living in one country with another.
Gold prices say a lot about the health of the U.S. economy. When gold prices are high, the economy is usually either in crisis or inflation. When gold prices are low, the economy and the stock market are healthy. Learn about how gold should used by investors, the history of gold, and more about the gold standard.
A market economy allows production to be guided by supply and demand. 6 characteristics of a market economy, and pros/cons.
Financial derivatives are contracts to buy or sell underlying assets. They include options, swaps and futures contracts. Some are traded on exchanges, while others are over the counter.
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Obamacare works for you by making sure you can get insurance. Beyond that, it depends on your particular circumstance. Find out how it works for you.
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%.
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, and what causes them. Understand all this, as well as how inflation impacts your life, so you can best protect yourself.
Economies of scale means large companies, or governments, can have operational efficiencies just by being large. For example, they can buy in bulk and pass on the savings to consumers.
A summary of the current Federal Budget's discretionary spending programs, including Defense, Education, Housing and Urban Development, State Department, Health and Human Services and NASA.
The War on Terror costs nearly $1.5 trillion from FY 2001-FY 2014. That's on top of the costs to run the Department of Defense, the VA and Homeland Security.
Exchange rates determine how much the dollar, or any other foreign currency, is worth compared to another country's currency.
IPO, or initial public offering, is when a company first sells shares of stock to raise a large amount of funds.
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.
The Savings and Loans Crisis in the late 1980s resulted in the bankruptcy of half of the Savings and Loan banks in the U.S.
The top five Obama accomplishments include ending the recession, reforming healthcare, regulating Wall Street, eliminating bin Laden and ending the Iraq War, and extending tax cuts and unemployment benefits.
U.S. economy forecast over the next ten years. Find out what the experts predict for the U.S. debt, GDP, and unemployment, as well as the dollar, oil and gas prices, and the housing market. Learn how it affects you.