United States

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Economy - United States:

Economy overview

The US has the largest and most technologically powerful economy in the world, with a per capita GDP of $43,500. In this market-oriented economy, private individuals and business firms make most of the decisions, and the federal and state governments buy needed goods and services predominantly in the private marketplace. US business firms enjoy greater flexibility than their counterparts in Western Europe and Japan in decisions to expand capital plant, to lay off surplus workers, and to develop new products. At the same time, they face higher barriers to enter their rivals 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 military equipment; their advantage has narrowed since the end of World War II. The onrush of technology largely explains the gradual development of a two-tier labor market in which those at the bottom lack the education and the professional/technical skills of those at the top and, more and more, fail to get comparable pay raises, health insurance coverage, and other benefits. Since 1975, practically all the gains in household income have gone to the top 20% of households. The response to the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 showed the remarkable resilience of the economy. The war in March-April 2003 between a US-led coalition and Iraq, and the subsequent occupation of Iraq, required major shifts in national resources to the military. The rise in GDP in 2004-06 was undergirded by substantial gains in labor productivity. Hurricane Katrina caused extensive damage in the Gulf Coast region in August 2005, but had a small impact on overall GDP growth for the year. Soaring oil prices in 2005 and 2006 threatened inflation and unemployment, yet the economy continued to grow through year-end 2006. Imported oil accounts for about two-thirds of US consumption. Long-term problems include inadequate investment in economic infrastructure, rapidly rising medical and pension costs of an aging population, sizable trade and budget deficits, and stagnation of family income in the lower economic groups. The merchandise trade deficit reached a record $750 billion in 2006.

Gdp purchasing power parity

$13.13 trillion (2006 est.)

Gdp official exchange rate

$13.21 trillion (2006 est.)

Gdp real growth rate

3.2% (2006 est.)

Gdp per capita ppp

$44,000 (2006 est.)

Gdp composition by sector

agriculture: 0.9%
industry: 20.4%
services: 78.6% (2006 est.)

Labor force

151.4 million (includes unemployed) (2006 est.)

Labor force by occupation

farming, forestry, and fishing 0.7%, manufacturing, extraction, transportation, and crafts 22.9%, managerial, professional, and technical 34.9%, sales and office 25%, other services 16.5%
note: figures exclude the unemployed (2006)

Unemployment rate

4.8% (2006 est.)

Population below poverty line

12% (2004 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 1.8%
highest 10%: 30.5% (1997)

Distribution of family income gini index

45 (2004)

Inflation rate consumer prices

2.5% (2006 est.)

Investment gross fixed

16.6% of GDP (2006 est.)


revenues: $2.409 trillion
expenditures: $2.66 trillion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2006 est.)

Public debt

64.7% of GDP (2005 est.)

Agriculture products

wheat, corn, other grains, fruits, vegetables, cotton; beef, pork, poultry, dairy products; fish; forest products


leading industrial power in the world, highly diversified and technologically advanced; petroleum, steel, motor vehicles, aerospace, telecommunications, chemicals, electronics, food processing, consumer goods, lumber, mining

Industrial production growth rate

4.2% (2006 est.)

Electricity production

3.979 trillion kWh (2004)

Electricity consumption

3.717 trillion kWh (2004)

Electricity exports

22.9 billion kWh (2004)

Electricity imports

34.21 billion kWh (2004)

Oil production

7.61 million bbl/day (2005 est.)

Oil consumption

20.73 million bbl/day (2004 est.)

Oil exports

1.048 million bbl/day (2004)

Oil imports

13.15 million bbl/day (2004)

Oil proved reserves

21.37 billion bbl (1 January 2005)

Natural gas production

531.1 billion cu m (2004 est.)

Natural gas consumption

635.1 billion cu m (2004 est.)

Natural gas exports

24.18 billion cu m (2004 est.)

Natural gas imports

120.6 billion cu m (2004 est.)

Natural gas proved reserves

5.451 trillion cu m (1 January 2005 est.)

Current account balance

-$862.3 billion (2006 est.)


$1.024 trillion f.o.b. (2006 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% (2003)

Exports partners

Canada 22.2%, Mexico 12.9%, Japan 5.8%, China 5.3%, UK 4.4% (2006)


$1.869 trillion f.o.b. (2006 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) (2003)

Imports partners

Canada 16%, China 15.9%, Mexico 10.4%, Japan 7.9%, Germany 4.8% (2006)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$69.19 billion (August 2006 est.)

Economic aid donor

ODA, $6.9 billion (1997)

Debt external

$10.04 trillion (30 June 2006 est.)

Currency code

US dollar (USD)

Exchange rates

British pounds per US dollar - 0.5418 (2006), 0.5500 (2005), 0.5462 (2004), 0.6125 (2003), 0.6672 (2002)
: Canadian dollars per US dollar - 1.1334 (2006), 1.2118 (2005), 1.3010 (2004), 1.4011 (2003), 1.5693 (2002)
: Japanese yen per US dollar - 116.18 (2006) 110.22 (2005), 108.19 (2004), 115.93 (2003), 125.39 (2002)
: euros per US dollar - .7964 (2006), 0.8041 (2005), 0.8054 (2004), 0.8860 (2003), 1.0626 (2002)
: Chinese yuan per US dollar - 7.97 (2006), 8.1943 (2005), 8.2768 (2004), 8.2770 (2003), 8.2770 (2002)

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This page was last updated on 16 September, 2007
Source: CIA >>>

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An Intelligence Quotient or IQ is a score derived from one of several different standardized tests attempting to measure intelligence. Although the term "IQ" is still in common use, the scoring of modern IQ tests such as the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale is now based on a projection of the subject's measured rank on the Gaussian bell curve with a center value (average IQ) of 100, and a standard deviation of 15, although different tests may have different standard deviations. The average IQ scores for many populations have been rising at an average rate of three points per decade since the early 20th century with most of the increase in the lower half of the IQ range: a phenomenon called the Flynn effect. It is disputed whether these changes in scores reflect real changes in intellectual abilities, or merely methodological problems with past or present testing. (Wikipedie)

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