Friday, June 13, 2008

The Economy In Perspective

In the May issue of Imprimis, Patrick Toomey shares some interesting numbers on the U.S. economy:

Average economic growth in the U.S. has not only been positive for almost the entire last quarter century, but for much of this period the rate of growth has accelerated. Our nation’s total economic output in 1982 was $5.1 trillion; last year it was $11.3 trillion (in real 2000 dollars). Per capita economic output in 1982 was $22,400; last year it was $37,807 (in real 2000 dollars). The average unemployment rate in the 1970s was nearly seven percent; it has been declining, on average, every decade since, and has remained below five percent since 2003. The service sector of our economy has been on fire, growing from $1 trillion in 1982 to $5.5 trillion in 2006. And do you know how far back one has to go to find the year when America’s total manufacturing output peaked? All the way back to 2007! Yes, U.S. factories produced more last year than in any previous year in our history. That’s the “hollowing out”—as its critics like to say—of America’s economy.

With regard to standard of living, he said:

These gains in income and wealth have resulted directly in a better standard of living for virtually every segment of American society—including the poor. Among families living below the official poverty line in the early 1970s, less than 40 percent had a car, almost none had color televisions, and air conditioning was virtually unheard of; in 2004, 46 percent owned their own homes, almost 75 percent owned a car (indeed, 30 percent owned two or more cars), 97 percent had color TVs, and 67 percent had air conditioning. The poor in the U.S. have an average of 721 square feet of living space per person, as compared with 430 in Sweden and 92 in Mexico.

With all of the doom and gloom, it is easy to forget that we are still experiencing unprecedented economic growth, and in the long run, it will take drastic economic upheaval to truly put our economy in the gutter.

The read the entire thing here: The Greatest Story Never Told: Today's Economy in Perspective


Richard Jennings said...

Jacob - All the statistics say unemployment is up but when you look at the jobs posted online you have to think its 1999 all over again. 100K, 150K, and 250K jobs all over.

Its like how do I land one of these gigs?

Jacob said...

There certainly has been some job losses. Toomey alludes to Michigan's economic woes, which suggests are due to a special set of circumstances. That said, most of my friends who graduated from college this year, as well as those of us who graduated last year, don't seem to be having trouble finding jobs.