US: Country fact sheet
- Content Type
- Country Data and Maps
- Economist Intelligence Unit
- No abstract is available.
- Summary, Economy, Background, Fact sheet
- Political Geography
- United States
Annual data 2018 a Historical averages (%) 2014-18 Population (m) 329.2 Population growth 0.6 GDP (US$ bn; market exchange rate) 20,580 Real GDP growth 2.0 GDP (US$ bn; PPP) 20,580 Real domestic demand growth 2.2 GDP per head (US$; market exchange rate) 62,516 Inflation 1.2 GDP per head (US$; PPP) 62,516 Current-account balance (% of GDP) -2.2 Nominal effective exchange rate 113.6 FDI inflows (% of GDP) 2.0 aActual.
Background: The US has the highest level of output in the world, with GDP valued at US$20.5trn in 2018. Serious economic imbalances triggered a financial crisis and a deep recession in 2008-09, and the recovery was slow. The economy is now in its 11th year of expansion, and unemployment had fallen to a near record low of 3.5% in September 2019. After several years of fiscal consolidation, government spending growth has picked up since 2017 under the Trump administration.
Political structure: Powers are constitutionally divided between the executive, legislative and judicial branches, and between the federal and state governments. The president heads the executive branch. The federal legislature (Congress) consists of a House of Representatives (the lower house), members of which are elected from constituencies based on population, and a Senate (the upper house), members of which are elected state-wide (two per state). The president is elected every four years and House members every two years. Senators serve a six-year term, with one-third elected at each congressional election.
Policy issues: Government policy is in flux, given the freewheeling style of the president, Donald Trump. Mr Trump wants to tighten immigration policy, build a wall on the border with Mexico and cut the trade deficit. The US and China are engaged in strategic rivalry for economic dominance; the primary focus has been on merchandise trade in 2017-19, but the conflict will increasingly spill over into the technology and finance sectors from 2020. Mr Trump will continue to strip away regulation and shift the ideological balance of the judicial system through a swathe of appointments of conservative judges.
Taxation: Personal tax rates are low compared with other industrialised countries. Corporate tax rates have come down considerably under Mr Trump's tax reform, even though deductions mean that previous rates appeared artificially high. Tax jurisdiction is a complex web between the federal government, the states, and local counties and municipalities. Sales tax varies from state to state.
Foreign trade: The merchandise trade account (balance-of-payments basis) recorded a deficit of US$891bn in 2018, and the current-account deficit was equivalent to 2.4% of GDP. The Economist Intelligence Unit expects the Trump administration to maintain its focus on trade protectionism in the coming years, but the current-account deficit will nonetheless remain wide in 2020-24. Tariff and non-tariff barriers will focus on China, but other countries-including long-standing allies in North America and Europe-stand to be affected as well.
Main exports 2018 % of total Main imports 2018 % of total Capital goods (excl automotive) 33.8 Capital goods (excl automotive) 27.3 Industrial supplies & materials 32.5 Consumer goods (non-food), excl automotive 25.5 Consumer goods (non-food), excl automotive 12.4 Industrial supplies & materials 22.7 Automotive vehicles, engines & parts 9.5 Automotive vehicles, engines & parts 14.6 Leading markets 2018 % of total Leading suppliers 2018 % of total Canada 17.9 China 21.2 Mexico 15.9 Mexico 13.6 China 7.2 Canada 12.5 Japan 4.5 Japan 5.6 UK 3.5 Germany 4.8
Data provided by: