Business Environment in the United States
The United States is the largest and most powerful economy in the world. Nevertheless, it was the first to suffer from the consequences of the financial crisis. The country experienced the words recession since the crisis of the 1930s, the economy shrinking by 2.6% in 2009. Thanks to the government’s large-scale budget and monetary stimulus plan, which among others stimulated household consumption, the economy has recovered in 2010, with a growth of 2.6%. The economy is expected to continue to grow slowly in 2011.
In the recent years and following the raise in expenditure in the defense field, the financial crisis and the limited budgetary solutions offered by the government, the federal finances are in deficit. The government has therefore set itself the goal of lowering the deficit by more than 10% in 2010, to 3% in 2015. After having built their growth based on internal consumption for a long time, the American administration has recently indicated its willingness to switch to a model where growth would be coming from exports. The aim is to double exports in five years. Finally, a new stimulus plan has been announced, planning to renew and develop transport infrastructure, as well as introduce tax deductions for businesses.
Following the crisis, the unemployment benefits shows a strong upward trend, exceeding 9% at the beginning of 2010 and thus reaching the highest numbers in the last 25 years. In addition, since the 1980s we see a growth in social inequality.
|GDP (billions USD)||14,119.05||14,657.80e||15,227.07e||15,880.21||16,522.06|
|GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change)||-2.6||2.8||2.8||2.9||2.7|
|GDP per Capita (USD)||45,934||47,284e||48,666e||50,273e||51,810|
|General Government Balance (in % of GDP)||-6.8||-7.5e||-8.1||-5.7e||-4.4|
|Inflation Rate (%)||-0.3||1.6e||2.2||1.6e||1.4e|
|Unemployment Rate (% of the Labor Force)||9.3||9.6e||8.5||7.8e||7.0|
|Current Account (billions USD)||-418.00e||-487.23e||-523.86e||-571.27e||-|
|Current Account (in % of GDP)||-2.9||-3.3e||-3.4e||-3.6e||-|
Source: IMF - World Economic Outlook Database
Note: (e) Estimated Data
Main Sectors of Industry
The American agricultural sector is without a doubt, the biggest in the world. It is characterized by high productivity and by the use of modern technologies. The United States is one of the major producers of corn, soya, beef and cotton. California alone produces more than 12% of the country's total agricultural production. Nevertheless, agriculture only accounts for 1% of the American GNP.
The United States is a very industrialized country. The industrial sector contributes almost a quarter of the GDP and includes a large variety of activities. The most significant are the manufacturing of electric and electronic machinery, chemical products, industrial machinery, the food industry and automobile sectors. It is also the world leader in aerospace and pharmaceutical industries. The abandunce of natural resouces has turned the United States into a leader in the production of several minerals and allows it to maintain a diversified production. It is thus the biggest world producer of liquid natural gas, aluminum, electricity and nuclear energy. It is the third oil producer in the world.
The American economy is essentially based on services. The tertiary sector accounts for more than three-fourths of the GDP and of the workforce.
|Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector||Agriculture||Industry||Services|
|Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment)||1.4||20.6||78.0|
|Value Added (in % of GDP)||1.2||21.3||77.5|
|Value Added (Annual % Change)||9.1||-2.9||0.6|
Source: World Bank - Last Available Data.
|American Dollar (USD) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 USD||1.00||1.00||1.00||1.00||1.00|
Source: World Bank
Indicator of Economic Freedom
- Mostly free
- World Rank:
- Regional Rank:
Foreign Trade in Figures
The country has generally reduced trade barriers and integrated into the world economic system. The United States is convinced that trade promotes economic growth, social stability, and democracy in individual countries, and also helps to promotes better international relations. Nevertheless, trade represents less than a third of the country’s GDP. As part of the 2010 economic stimulus plan, the administration has adopted a policy of promoting exports, with the aim of doubling exports in the next five years.
The U.S. trade balance is structurally strongly negative. As an effect of the economic crisis, the decrease in imports reduced the deficit, nevertheless with the economic recovery it has progressively deepened and this tendency should continue.
The main trade partners of the United States are the countries of NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement composed of the United States, Mexico and Canada), China and the European Union.
|Foreign Trade Indicators||2006||2007||2008||2009||2010|
|Imports of Goods (million USD)||1,918,080||2,020,400||2,169,490||1,605,300||1,968,071|
|Exports of Goods (million USD)||1,025,967||1,148,199||1,287,442||1,056,040||1,278,140|
|Imports of Services (million USD)||305,000||334,624||365,013||334,310||357,914|
|Exports of Services (million USD)||393,405||462,529||510,474||475,979||514,970|
|Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change)||6.1||2.7||-2.6||-13.8||-|
|Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change)||8.4||-||-||-||-|
|Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP)||16.8||16.9||17.8||13.9||-|
|Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP)||11.0||11.8||12.8||11.2||-|
|Trade Balance (million USD)||-836,664||-820,144||-831,680||-503,578||-|
|Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD)||1,072,981,463||701,418||-695,936||-||-|
|Foreign Trade (in % of GDP)||27.8||28.7||30.6||25.1||-|
Source: WTO - World Trade Organization ; World Bank
Main Partner Countries
|Main Customers |
(% of Exports)
|United Arab Emirates||0.9%|
|Other partnersClose extended list||52.1%|
|Main Suppliers |
(% of Imports)
|Other partnersClose extended list||44.0%|
Sources of General Economic Information
- Federal Trade Commission, US customs, Department of State
US Department of Labor
US Department of Agriculture
International Trade Administration
- Statistical Office
- US Census Bureau
- Central Bank
- The Federal Reserve
- Stock Exchange
- New York Stock Exchange- Euronext
American Stock Exchange
Philadelphia Stock Exchange
Boston Stock Exchange
Chicago Stock Exchange
Chicago Mercantile Exchange
Chicago Board Options Exchange
Minneapolis Grain Exchange
Kansas City Board of Trade
- Search Engines
Help Find it
Open Directory Project
Scrub The Web
- Economic Portals
- National Bureau of Economic Research
Bureau of census
Bureau of Labor Statistics
Bureau of Economic Analysis
- Executive Power
- President is both the chief of state and the head of the government. President is elected by an electoral college (who are elected directly from each state) to serve a four-year term. President is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces.
These powers are checked by parliament. The Cabinet is appointed by the President subject to approval by the senat.
- Legislative Power
- The legislature is bicameral in the United States. The Congress consists of Senate (the upper house) and the House of Representatives (lower house). The Senate has the power to confirm or reject presidential appointments and to ratify treaties; the House of Representatives has the sole right to initiate revenue bills, although they may be amended or rejected by the Senate. President has the power to veto the legislation passed by the Congress. The Congress can override the veto with a two-thirds vote.
- Main Political Parties
- The United States has a two-party system :
- Democratic Party : the oldest political party in the world (established in 1820s) with a liberal, pro-working class Philosophy;
- Republican Party : established in 1854, socially conservative but economically more liberal, favors free-market economy and capitalism.
- Current Political Leaders
- President: Barack Obama (since January 2009): Democrat Party
- Next Election Dates
- Presidential: November 2012
ongress: November 2012
Indicator of Freedom of the Press
- World Rank:
- 20 places up compared to 2008
Indicator of Political Freedom
- Political Freedom:
- Civil Liberties:
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