Current Economic Report

Today I am going to give my opinion on how the U.S. economy is doing, and how that compares to the past, and whether we are well off or not.

Let us first look at GDP. GDP stands for gross domestic product, and is used to measure the economic output of a community.sgs-gdp

You will notice that there are two lines in this graph. This is because I am using ShadowStats charts. The men who made these graphs believe that the government’s way of producing macroeconomic data is flawed and too narrow. So they take into account many things that the government does not, and different, more realistic results appear.

As you can see, the GDP line has been somewhat volatile. You will particularly notice the rather large dip during the recession of 2009, where the economy shrank by a large amount instead of growing during that time. You will also see that the ShadowStats line in blue grows farther and farther apart from the official (red) line and always stays a significant distance below it. I will go along with the ShadowStats and say that the GDP has been slowly declining, despite the official data.

Now let us look at inflation. sgs-cpi

Inflation went on a steady drop from 1980 to 1983, then according to the official chart mostly stayed on a slow downward drop. The ShadowStats graph, however, shows that inflation has been on a steady rise since that time, not going down. However, both agree that it has grown much more volatile since 2000 and once again you can see the large dip in 2009. Also you can again see that the ShadowStats graph actually closely parallels the official graph, just at a much less optimistic range.

Now let’s look at unemployment.sgs-emp

This time there are three lines. The red line is the standard official measure, and the grey is another official measure, but broader in scope. It takes into account people that would not normally be considered in the labor force. Again, the blue line is the ShadowStats line. In all lines you see downward curves with a slight rise in 2001 until the recession in 2009. Then both official lines show a recovery, while the ShadowStats line stays pretty much the same.

Based on these three charts, it seems that the economy is not as well off as it was prior to 2000. The charts have been moving in the worse direction, at least show the blue lines. We need to fix this problem. But don’t ask me how (yet). I’m not an economist.

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