Tracking America's Economy

Tracking America's Economy

Tracking America's Economy

Tracking America's Economy

Excerpt

Data on the state of the U.S. economy abound. With what some nay call information overload, federal agencies publish statistics for the most recent month or quarter on economic growth, finance, employment and inflation. Trade associtiations and other private organizations add to this data base with their own surveys on particular sectors of the economy.

These indicators are typically historical and descriptive, although they also include forecasts such as business plans for investments in plant and equipment, Federal Reserve Board target ranges for the money supply, and projections of the federal budget by Congress and the president. They reported in the newspapers and on the radio and television, with economists and politicians offering interpretations of the most recent trends and their implications for future economic activity.

Yet after all these assessments, the question remains: what do these economic indicators mean?

OBJECTIVES

This book is aimed at giving beginning students in economics, and persons with no special background in the field, a basis for monitoring economic trends and assessing what the experts and politicians are saying about the current and future state of the economy. It is directed at better understanding the past and current strengths and weaknesses in the economy and at analyzing these factors in projecting future trends. In this sense, it is a book on economic forecasting, although it doesn't give mathematical formulas for plugging in the relevant data and deriving specific forecasts of the economy. That there is no consensus on the economy is clear, as experts as well as politicians continually differ in interpreting the significance of the same data. The book deals with this in everyday language by significance of the same data. The book deals with this in everyday language by highlighting the main characteristics of the indicators and how to use them, thus opening the baffling subject and arcane jargon to a wider audience.

Macroeconomics is the branch of economics that focuses on the performance . . .

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