US Economy: Most Popular Articles
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.
How much each President actually contributed to the $17.7 trillion U.S. debt all the way back to Woodrow Wilson. Who added the most percentage-wise.
A traditional economy relies on hunting, fishing and agriculture and is guided by traditions. This described most of America until the Depression.
Definition of a business cycle, including the four stages. The economic indicators to watch. What GDP growth rate you should expect in each phase.
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.
The difference between a stock market correction and a stock market crash.
Here's national debt by year, compared to the size of the economy and whether there was a recession, war or other catastrophe.
The value of the U.S. dollar can be measured in three ways - exchange rates, Treasury yields and foreign currency reserves. Here's how they differ.
GDP is the measurement of a country's total output. Here's how it's used, what's included, how it differs from GNP, real vs nominal GDP, per capita.
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 U.S. imported $2.744 trillion and exported $2.272 trillion in 2013. The biggest components of both are oil and consumer goods.
The Federal poverty level is the guideline that determines who can receive assistance. It sometimes refers to the poverty threshold, the number of poor.
Quantitative Easing explained, including QE1, QE2, QE3, QE4 and Operation Twist. Why the Federal Reserve adopted this policy and how it works.
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 Dow historical closing high is 17,265.99 set September 18, 2014. Here's the DJIA highs and lows during every business cycle since the Depression.
A market economy is where production of goods and services are regulated by the laws of supply and demand.
A command economy subjugates individual self-interest to a greater societal or economic goals. It's great at mobilizing economic growth quickly.
Deflation is when prices fall. Here are causes, how it's measured, how it's stopped, and why it's worse than inflation. Japan as an example.
Trade protectionism is how countries raise tariffs and reduce imports to protect their domestic industries. Here's pros, cons and examples.
Obamacare is the Affordable Care Act. In a nutshell, it requires you to have health insurance or pay a tax. Here's how to avoid it.
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.
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 5 determinants of demand are price, income, prices of related goods, tastes, and expectations. A 6th, for aggregate demand, is number of buyers.
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.
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.
The $17 trillion national debt is owned by Social Security, the Fed, and foreign investors. Here's the major owners as of June 2014.
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 GDP growth rate tells you how fast a county's economy is growing. It compares real GDP from one quarter to the next.
There are three major causes of economic inflation: demand-pull, cost-push and monetary expansion. Here's what creates those conditions.
Economic recession is caused by many factors that then lead to a loss of confidence. Here's examples from the 2008, 2001 and prior recessions.
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 mixed economy combines the advantages and disadvantages of market, command and traditional economies. Here's pros, cons, examples and U.S.status.
U.S GDP by year measures the output of the U.S. economy during the years since the Great Depression. Compare to growth rate and GDP per capita,
Why the value of a dollar today keeps shrinking. How to calculate the value of a dollar.
The advantages of NAFTA for Mexico, Canada and the U.S. include an increase in trade which has contributed to economic growth.
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 caused and finally ended the Great Depression of 1929. Life and unemployment during the depression.
U.S. Treasury yields are determined by demand for the bonds themselves. As the bond prices rise, the yield falls. Here's why, and an outlook.
A current account deficit occurs when a country has to rely on foreign investors to fund its economic growth. Here's its causes and effects.
The history of gold prices since the Roman Empire show that the precious metal's record-high prices in 2011 were part of an asset bubble.
A summary of the most popular unemployment solutions, which ones work, and which are the most cost effective solutions.
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.
Mortgages rates have been rising since falling to a 200-year low in 2012 . Here's how falling demand for U.S. Treasury notes makes sure that continues.
The budget deficits for each President all the way back to President Woodrow Wilson. Presidents Bush and Obama contributed the most to the debt.
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 was Katrina the most destructive natural disaster in U.S. history? It struck the heavily-populated City of New Orleans and the Gulf oil fields.
The US debt is $17.7 trillion, the largest in the world. Here's the three main reasons it grew so large, and how it will damage U.S. economic growth.
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.
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 U.S. debt to China is $1.25 trillion. Here's why America owes so much China, and what happens if China calls in its loans.
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.
Elastic demand is when a price change creates a larger percentage change in the quantity demanded.
What was in President Barack Obama's economic stimulus package, and how well did it succeed?
Your Obamacare costs depends on 5 factors: income, family size, age, location and type of plan. Here's what you need to know before buying insurance.
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.
The unemployment rate for September 2014 fell to 5.9%. Here's the current and original unemployment rate statistics for every month since April 2007.
Real GDP per capita is the economic output of a country by person taking out the effect of inflation.
The European Union (EU) is one of the largest economies in the world. Here's how it's similar to, and different from, the U.S.
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.
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.
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.
What was the Dust Bowl of the Great Depression, why did the Dust Bowl happen, and could the Dust Bowl happen again?
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
Mexico's economy is becoming more attractive to investors, as President Pena Nieto opens up its energy industries.
China's economy is the third largest in the world, and it is the largest exporter. Here's the causes, concerns and how it impacts the U.S.
The 3 main types of unemployment are structural, frictional and cyclical. To get 5 types, add seasonal and classical. But there's really 9 types in all.
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.
Structural unemployment is defined as unemployment caused by a mismatch between jobs and skills, or other long-term changes in the economy.
An explanation of QE4, the Federal Reserve's fourth installment of quantitative easing.
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.
Competitive advantage is what makes you better than anyone else. Here's the 3 strategies that work: cost leadership, differentiation and focus.
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.
The US trade deficit with China is the largest in the world, and a symptom of global economic imbalance. Here's its causes, effects and remedies.
The real unemployment rate is 11.8% for September 2014, nearly double the reported rate of 5.9%. Is the government lying? Not exactly, and here's why.
Oil prices are determined by commodities market trading. The 3 factors that affect them are supply, demand and reserves. How that affects traders' perceptions.
Expansionary monetary policy is when a central bank increases the money supply to stimulate economic growth.
Obamacare explained in a way that's simple enough for even your kids. The basic facts that you need to know now.
NATO is an alliance of 28 members that agree to defend its North Atlantic members. It's being called into action thanks to the crisis in Ukraine.
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.
The consequences of inflation and the effects of inflation on buying power.
Inelastic demand is when people's buying habits don't respond very much to changes in the price.
How crude oil prices affect gas prices, and how swings in oil prices affected gas prices from 2008 to the present.
The trade deficit is when a country imports more than it exports. Here's causes, effects, U.S. definition, and its role in the balance of payments.
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 U.S. Treasury 10-year note yield is the return on investment. It's so important because it guides other interest rates, like a 15-year mortgage.
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.
The U.S. trade deficit in 2013 was $539.514 billion. Here's a summary of what's traded, what causes the deficit, and America's largest trade partner.
The Federal Reserve System is America's central bank. Its dual-mandate is to prevent inflation and reduce unemployment using monetary policy. Here's how.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI Index) measures inflation each month. Here's how it's calculated and the importance of the Core CPI.
A brief history of the gold standard, including when the U.S. went off the gold standard, and why.
An economic recession is when growth slows, usually due to a fall-off in consumer demand. As sales drop off, businesses stop expanding.
A monopoly is the sole provider of a good or service. Here's 4 ways they prevent free trade, 1 reason they're needed, and their history in the U.S.
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.
A definition of interest rates, including the APR. How interest rates work to stimulate or slow economic growth.
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.
Liquidity is the amount of capital available, and how easily it can be used. Here's how central banks and businesses manage liquidity.
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?
How crude oil prices are measured, and how prices impact you and the economy. Recent oil price trends and history.
Inflation is defined as when prices rise over an extended period of time. Here's what causes it, the different types, and how it's measured.
Trickle-down economics is a theory that says reducing taxes on businesses will trickle down to benefit all. Did it work, and would it today?
The history of U.S. recessions since the Great Depression. Their causes, length, levels of GDP (original and revise), and unemployment rates.
Oil price forecasts from the EIA and the OECD for 2014 through 2020.
The definition of cultural diversity, and why it matters in the workplace. How diversity, if managed correctly, can increase profits.
NASDAQ definition including what the acronym stands for. NASDAQ bubbles and crashes. The difference between NASDAQ, Dow and S&P 500.
Find out the similarities and differences between the economic policies of President Obama and President Bush.
Here's 10 reasons why the U.S. economy isn't in imminent danger of collapsing.
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.
Market capitalization is a company's stock price times the number of shares outstanding. Here's the 3 types, top 20 companies by market cap, and how it's used.
A stock market crash is when the stock market loses more than 10% in value in one day. Here's examples, and what not to do.
Capital goods are the machinery, equipment and buildings used by businesses to create supply. Find examples and how it differs from consumer goods.
The LIBOR rate is what banks charge each other for short-term loans. It's determined by ICE from a survey of banks. It hovers near the Fed funds rate.
The cost of living compares how much income you need to live in various locations, or across time. Find out the best indicators for your needs.
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.
The U.S. deficit adds to the debt each year, while interest on the debt increases the deficit. This spiraling cost will hurt economic growth.
An introduction to the financial markets, including stocks, bonds, commodities derivatives and their exchanges.
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.
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 U.S. debt increased $7 trillion during the Obama Administration. But how much did Obamacare, the Stimulus and other programs really add?
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.
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.
Mortgage-backed securities are tradeable assets backed by mortgages, allowing banks more cash to make loans. All went well, until housing prices fell.
The balance of trade is the difference between a country's exports and its imports. Balance of trade vs payments. Dangers of trade surplus. Components.
Will the chronic dollar decline cause a collapse? How to protect yourself from it.
Black Thursday in 1929 was the first clue that a historic stock market crash was about to hit.
Stagflation is when economic growth stagnates while inflation is rising. It only happens under unusual circumstances, like wage-price controls.
Not every jobless person is counted as unemployed. That's why you must know the difference between real, natural and structural unemployment.
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.
Manufacturing jobs create new products from raw materials. They pay well, but are disappearing thanks to robotics.
A summary of the current Federal Budget's discretionary spending programs, including Defense, Education, and NASA.
The power of the US dollar means there's little danger of a collapse. It's the world's currency and it's backed by the U.S. government.
Definition of the S&P 500, one of the most closely followed stock market indices.
Exchange rates determine how much the dollar, or any other foreign currency, is worth compared to another country's currency.
What is OPEC, who are OPEC members, and how does OPEC affect oil prices?
How much does NASA cost? What's the impact of the NASA budget on the U.S. economy.
The euro to dollar conversion is how many dollars a euro will buy. On September 4 the euro dropped 1%, to $1.2954, when the ECB announced QE Lite.
What is banking? The definition of banking, its critical role in the US economy, and how that has changed.
The 10 essential health benefits include preventive care, maternity care and mental health benefits. Before the ACA, less than 2% of plans complied.
CDOs, or Collateralized Debt Obligations, are a derivative. Banks repackaged loans, including credit card and corporate debt, and sold them to investors.
Contractionary monetary policy is when central banks raise interest rates and reduce the money supply to avoid inflation. Here's some examples.
Facts about the NAFTA agreement, including history of NAFTA, the benefits and problems with NAFTA for its members Mexico, Canada and the U.S.
The inflation rate was -0.2% in August, while the core rate was below the Fed's target. Here's what these warning signs mean.
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.
An asset bubble is when there is an inflation in specific assets, such as real estate or commodities. They don't show up in inflation measures.
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.
President Nixon took the U.S. off the gold standard in 1973. How the gold standard works, what are the pros and cons, and why we can't go back.
Multilateral trade agreements are between three or more countries at once. Here's more on the WTO, GATT, Doha, and major U.S. agreements.
Explains the Dow Jones Averages, including the Industrial Average (DJIA), the Transportation Average and the Utility Average, and what they tell you.
The debt to GDP ratio is how much debt a country has incurred as a percentage of its total economic output as measured by GDP. Here's how it's used.
Interest rates are determined by the Fed funds rate and demand for U.S. Treasury notes.
A summary of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. Timeline of how the impact of the Act will roll out.