Reviewing America’s Economy in 2019
How do you feel about the U.S. economy?
by Causes | 12.30.19
With 2019 drawing to a close, here’s a look at how the U.S. economy is performing:
America’s gross domestic product (GDP) when adjusted for inflation (Real GDP) grew between 2 and 3% for the first three quarters of 2019 ― roughly equal to the average economic growth rate over the past three years. As of the third quarter of 2019, real GDP totaled $19.1 trillion or $58,000 per person. The largest industries as a share of GDP were real estate at 13.4%, professional and business services at 12.8%, government at 12.3%, and manufacturing at 11%. This chart from USAFacts shows how U.S. GDP changed from the previous quarter since 2011:
In November, the U.S. unemployment rate returned to a 50-year low of 3.5% after the economy added 266,000 jobs. This chart from USAFacts shows the monthly unemployment rate dating back to 2000:
Additionally, America’s underemployment rate ― which includes the number of unemployed, discouraged, marginally attached, and involuntarily part-time workers ― reached 6.9% in November, its lowest level since October 2000 as this USAFacts chart shows:
The labor force participation rate increased slightly to a level above 63%, which it hadn’t reached for several years following the recession, although it’s still below its pre-recession level of 66% or higher according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shown in this USAFacts chart:
WAGES & WEALTH
Data from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta shows that in November 2019, pay rates for the bottom 25% of wage earners increased by 4.5% from a year earlier, whereas wages for the top 25% of earners only increased by 2.9%. It also found that the rate of pay increases for low-skilled workers matched those for high-skilled workers in November for the first time since 2010.
The total net worth of American households grew 58% from the recession low of $68 trillion in the first quarter of 2009 to $107 trillion in the second quarter of 2019. The share of wealth held by the top 1% reached 25.4%, the highest level since the Federal Reserve began using this dataset, while the rest of the top quintile held 46.4% of the wealth as this USAFacts chart shows:
With trade tensions between the U.S. and China lingering and the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement awaiting approval by the Senate early next year, the overall U.S. trade deficit widened from January to October 2019 compared to the same period in 2018. However, the trade balance with China decreased by nearly $10 billion compared to this time last year.
Major U.S. stock indexes hit all-time highs in 2019, setting numerous records. The S&P 500 broke 3,000 for the first time in July, the Dow Jones Industrial Average exceeded 28,000 for the first time in November, and the NASDAQ topped 9,000 for the first time in December. This USAFacts chart shows the S&P 500’s monthly closing level dating back to 2000:
At last Friday’s closing bell, the Dow Jones closed at 28,645, the NASDAQ at 9,006, and the S&P 500 at 3,240.
— Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: iStock.com / MarianVejcik)
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