Economic Situation

Looking at the economy from a macroeconomic vinewpoit means looking at a more broad approach to individual economic factors, weighing those factors, and making a determination as to whether the economy is stable and improving for the populace. Sustainable growth is one of the goals of economic development, and while there are peaks and valleys, the overall level and growth filters down to many factors. A booming economy, for instance, will create money and produce goods and services while affecting GDP, unemployment, inflation, interest rates, and prices. Policy can change these factors, increase or decrease confidence and spending, and the movement of money. However, in the 21st century, economic health is tied not only to countries, but to global issues of import and export, health of other economies, and the combination of factors that has become even more complex (Alesenai, 2003).

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In the U.S. economy, most scholars see that the dominant forces still active are high unemployment and slow growth. Certainly, over the last few months of 2012 we saw some growth in jobs, and the 2012 U.S. election was a critical factor in many analysts’ views on consumer confidence. However, most of the holdover in negatives in the U.S. economy are from the 2008-2009 issue with household debt, home mortgages, the European fiscal crisis (reduced exports, etc.) and government policy which cut spending at three levels (federal, state, and local). This is not to say that the economic situation is not recovering — it is, it is simply that recovery is sluggish and not as robust as we might have hoped (Perlo, 2012).

The global economy is so tied together that issues like the banking crises in Greece and Spain, those countries having heavy debt and asking for economic help from other European nations, which cuts into the relationship the EU has with the U.S., and the rest of the world. The Obama Administration has tried to reduce spending on some programs, increase it on others, and get the housing and real estate situation back on track so consumers will feel comfortable about spending money. The macroeconomic situation, though, remains somewhat fragile: unemployment is still high and may be underreported as benefits have run out for many people; currency valuation is volatile; manufacturing is increasing, but at a slow rate, and the trade balances between the U.S. And Asia remain problematical (Jobless Claims, 2013; Show, 2013; Rampell, 2012).

Current economic policy from the Obama Administration is attempting to balance the issue of not raising the deficit, but most of the President’s proposed programs from the State of the Union Address would do just that. Gas taxes, for instance, are not enough to pay for needed infrastructure repairs, and many critics of the current view harken back to a quote from the 1980s and President Ronal Reagan who said, “We don’t have a trillion-dollar debt because we haven’t taxed enough; we have a trillion dollar debt because we spend too much” (Recap, 2013). In brief, the nation’s unemployment rate still hovers just under 8%; the CPI was a -.3 in November 2012, then 0 in December 2012; January 2013 U.S. Import price index moved from -.5 in December to .6, but 4th Quarter productivity statistics are down -2.0 while the employment cost index for 4th Quarter 2012 remains about a steady .5 (Economy at a Glance, 2013).

Still, on an overview, the U.S. economy is the world’s largest national economy with a nominal GDP at almost $16 trillion, or about 25% of the global nominal GDP. Growth is sluggish at 1.5% with inflation at 1.7%. Federal, state and local governmental spending account for about 30% of the gross domestic product, and the federal government’s debt rose another $1.09 trillion in 1012, or about 100.5% of GDP. The U.S. remains committed to about five major trading partners, all of which affect the economic outlook for 2013 (China at almost 20%, Canada, 14%, Mexico, 12%, Japan 6%, and Germany 5%). Of some alarm, though, is that Standard and Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch’s economic indicators are all negative for at least the first part of 2013, certainly requiring the Federal Reserve to become more aggressive in its fiscal policies to improve the robustness and quicken the growth of the national economy (Credit Ratings, 2012; Sahadi, 2012; , 2013).


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