Personal income in the United States
Personal income is an individual's total earnings from wages, investment interest, other sources. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a median personal income of $865 weekly for all full-time workers in 2017; the U. S Bureau of the Census has the annual median personal income at $31,099 in 2016. Inflation-adjusted per-capita disposable personal income rose in the U. S. from 1945 to 2008, but has since remained level. Income patterns are evident on the basis of age, sex and educational characteristics. In 2005 half of all those with graduate degrees were among the nation's top 15% of income earners. Among different demographics for those over the age of 18, median personal income ranged from $3,317 for an unemployed, married Asian American female to $55,935 for a full-time, year-round employed Asian American male. According to the US Census, men tended to have higher income than women, while Asians and Whites earned more than African Americans and Hispanics. In the United States the most cited personal income statistics are the Bureau of Economic Analysis's personal income and the Census Bureau's per capita money income.
The two statistics spring from different traditions of measurement—personal income from national economic accounts and money income from household surveys. BEA's statistics relate personal income to measures of production, including GDP, is considered an indicator of consumer spending; the Census Bureau's statistics provide detail on income distribution and demographics and are used to produce the nation's official poverty statistics. BEA's personal income measures the income received by persons from participation in production, from government and business transfers, from holding interest-bearing securities and corporate stocks. Personal income includes income received by nonprofit institutions serving households, by private non-insured welfare funds, by private trust funds. BEA publishes disposable personal income, which measures the income available to households after paying federal and state and local government income taxes. Income from production is generated both by the labor of individuals and by the capital that they own.
Income, not earned from production in the current period—such as capital gains, which relate to changes in the price of assets over time—is excluded. BEA's monthly personal income estimates are one of several key macroeconomic indicators that the National Bureau of Economic Research considers when dating the business cycle. Personal income and disposable personal income are provided both as aggregate and as per capita statistics. BEA produces monthly estimates of personal income for the nation, quarterly estimates of state personal income, annual estimates of local-area personal income. More information is found on BEA's website; the Census Bureau collects income data on several major surveys, including the Annual Social and Economic Supplement of the Current Population Survey, the Survey of Income and Program Participation, the American Community Survey. The CPS is the source of the official national estimates of poverty and the most cited source of annual household income estimates for the United States.
The CPS measure of money income is defined as the total pre-tax cash income received by people on a regular basis, excluding certain lump-sum payments and excluding capital gains. The Census Bureau produces alternative estimates of income and poverty based on broadened definitions of income that include many of these income components that are not included in money income; the Census Bureau releases estimates of household money income as medians, percent distributions by income categories, on a per capita basis. Estimates are available by demographic characteristics of householders and by the composition of households. More details on income concepts and sources are found on the Census Bureau's website. Of those individuals with income who were older than 15 years of age 50% had incomes below $30,000 while the top 10% had incomes exceeding $95,000 a year in 2015; the distribution of income among individuals differs from household incomes as 39% of all households had two or more income earners.
As a result, 25% of households have incomes above $100,000 though only 9.2% of Americans had incomes exceeding $100,000 in 2010. As a reference point, the US minimum wage since 2009 has been $7.25 per hour or $15,080 for the 2080 hours in a typical work year. The minimum wage is 25% over the official U. S. government-designated poverty income level for a single person unit and about 63% of the designated poverty level for a family of four, assuming only one worker.. Annual wages of $30,160. SOURCE: US Census Bureau, Current Population Survey 2016 This chart is median income of 15 year olds or older, who have non-zero income. Amounts are shown in real dollars. Personal income varied with an individual's racial characteristics with racial discrepancies having remained stagnant since 1996. Overall, Asian Americans earned higher median personal incomes than any other racial demographic. Asian Americans had a median income ten percent higher than that of Whites; the only exception was among the holders of graduate degrees.
Among those with a master's, professional or doctorate degree, those who identified as White had the highest median indi
Sports in the United States
Sports in the United States are an important part of American culture. American football is the most popular sport to watch in the United States, followed by baseball, basketball and soccer. Tennis, wrestling, auto racing, arena football, field lacrosse, box lacrosse and volleyball are popular sports in the country. Based on revenue, the four major professional sports leagues in the United States are Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the National Football League, the National Hockey League; the market for professional sports in the United States is $69 billion 50% larger than that of all of Europe, the Middle East, Africa combined. All four enjoy wide-ranging domestic media coverage and are considered the preeminent leagues in their respective sports in the world, although American football does not have a substantial following in other nations. Three of those leagues have teams that represent Canadian cities, all four are the most financially lucrative sports leagues of their sport.
Major League Soccer, which includes teams based in Canada, is sometimes included in a "top five" of leagues. Professional teams in all major sports in the United States operate as franchises within a league, meaning that a team may move to a different city if the team's owners believe there would be a financial benefit, but franchise moves are subject to some form of league-level approval. All major sports leagues use a similar type of regular-season schedule with a post-season playoff tournament. In addition to the major league–level organizations, several sports have professional minor leagues, active in smaller cities across the country; as in Canada and Australia, sports leagues in the United States do not practice promotion and relegation, unlike many sports leagues in Europe. Sports are associated with education in the United States, with most high schools and universities having organized sports, this is a unique sporting footprint for the U. S. College sports competitions play an important role in the American sporting culture, college basketball and college football are as popular as professional sports in some parts of the country.
The major sanctioning body for college sports is the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Unlike most other nations, the United States government does not provide funding for sports nor for the United States Olympic Committee. Most sports in the United States evolved out of European practices. However, volleyball and snowboarding are American inventions, some of which have become popular in other countries and worldwide. Lacrosse and surfing arose from Native American and Native Hawaiian activities that predate Western contact. In colonial Virginia and Maryland sports occupied a great deal of attention at every social level. In England, hunting was restricted to landowners. In America, game was more than plentiful. Everyone—including servants and slaves—could and did hunt, so there was no social distinction to be had. In 1691, Sir Francis Nicholson, the governor of Virginia, organized competitions for the “better sort of Virginians onely who are Batchelors,” and he offered prizes “to be shot for, played at backswords, & Run for by Horse and foott.”Horse racing remained the leading sport in the 1780-1860 era in the South.
It involved owners and spectators from all social classes and both races. However, religious evangelists were troubled by the gambling dimension, democratic elements complained that it was too aristocratic, since only the rich could own expensive competitive horses; the United States Olympic Committee is the National Olympic Committee for the United States. U. S. athletes have won a total of 2,522 medals at the Summer Olympic Games and another 305 at the Winter Olympic Games. Most medals have been won in athletics and swimming. American swimmer Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympic athlete of all time, with 28 Olympic medals, 23 of them gold; the United States has sent athletes to every celebration of the modern Olympic Games except the 1980 Summer Olympics hosted by the Soviet Union in Moscow, which it boycotted because of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The United States has won gold at every games in which it has competed, more gold and overall medals than any other country in the Summer Games and has the second-most gold and overall medals in the Winter Games, trailing only Norway.
From the mid-20th century to the late 1980s, the United States competed with the Soviet Union at the Summer Games and with the Soviet Union and East Germany at the Winter Games. However, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, it now contends with China and Great Britain at the Summer Games for both the overall medal count and the gold medal count and with Norway and Canada at the Winter Games for the overall medal count; the United States hosted both Summer and Winter Games in 1932, has hosted more Games than any other country – eight times, four times each for the Summer and Winter Games: the 1904 Summer Olympics in St. Louis, 1932 Summer Olympics and 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. Los Angeles will host the Summer Olympics for a third time in 2028, marking the ninth time the U. S. hosts the Olympic Games. Motor sports are popular in the United States but Americans show little interest in the major international competitions, such as the Formula One Grand Prix series and MotoGP, p
The United States of America known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U. S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D. C. and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico; the State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean; the U. S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The diverse geography and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Paleo-Indians migrated from Siberia to the North American mainland at least 12,000 years ago. European colonization began in the 16th century; the United States emerged from the thirteen British colonies established along the East Coast. Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the colonies following the French and Indian War led to the American Revolution, which began in 1775, the subsequent Declaration of Independence in 1776; the war ended in 1783 with the United States becoming the first country to gain independence from a European power. The current constitution was adopted in 1788, with the first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, being ratified in 1791 to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties; the United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century, acquiring new territories, displacing Native American tribes, admitting new states until it spanned the continent by 1848. During the second half of the 19th century, the Civil War led to the abolition of slavery.
By the end of the century, the United States had extended into the Pacific Ocean, its economy, driven in large part by the Industrial Revolution, began to soar. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the country's status as a global military power; the United States emerged from World War II as a global superpower, the first country to develop nuclear weapons, the only country to use them in warfare, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Sweeping civil rights legislation, notably the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, outlawed discrimination based on race or color. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed in the Space Race, culminating with the 1969 U. S. Moon landing; the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the world's sole superpower. The United States is the world's oldest surviving federation, it is a representative democracy.
The United States is a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States, other international organizations. The United States is a developed country, with the world's largest economy by nominal GDP and second-largest economy by PPP, accounting for a quarter of global GDP; the U. S. economy is post-industrial, characterized by the dominance of services and knowledge-based activities, although the manufacturing sector remains the second-largest in the world. The United States is the world's largest importer and the second largest exporter of goods, by value. Although its population is only 4.3% of the world total, the U. S. holds 31% of the total wealth in the world, the largest share of global wealth concentrated in a single country. Despite wide income and wealth disparities, the United States continues to rank high in measures of socioeconomic performance, including average wage, human development, per capita GDP, worker productivity.
The United States is the foremost military power in the world, making up a third of global military spending, is a leading political and scientific force internationally. In 1507, the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller produced a world map on which he named the lands of the Western Hemisphere America in honor of the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci; the first documentary evidence of the phrase "United States of America" is from a letter dated January 2, 1776, written by Stephen Moylan, Esq. to George Washington's aide-de-camp and Muster-Master General of the Continental Army, Lt. Col. Joseph Reed. Moylan expressed his wish to go "with full and ample powers from the United States of America to Spain" to seek assistance in the revolutionary war effort; the first known publication of the phrase "United States of America" was in an anonymous essay in The Virginia Gazette newspaper in Williamsburg, Virginia, on April 6, 1776. The second draft of the Articles of Confederation, prepared by John Dickinson and completed by June 17, 1776, at the latest, declared "The name of this Confederation shall be the'United States of America'".
The final version of the Articles sent to the states for ratification in late 1777 contains the sentence "The Stile of this Confederacy shall be'The United States of America'". In June 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote the phrase "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" in all capitalized letters in the headline of his "original Rough draught" of the Declaration of Independence; this draft of the document did not surface unti
Wealth in the United States
Wealth in the United States is measured in terms of net worth, the sum of all assets, including the market value of real estate, like a home, minus all liabilities. The United States is the wealthiest country in the world. For example, a household in possession of an $800,000 house, $5,000 in mutual funds, $30,000 in cars, $20,000 worth of stock in their own company, a $45,000 IRA would have assets totaling $900,000. Assuming that this household would have a $250,000 mortgage, $40,000 in car loans, $10,000 in credit card debt, its debts would total $300,000. Subtracting the debts from the worth of this household's assets, this household would have a net worth of $600,000. Net worth can vary with fluctuations in value of the underlying assets; as one would expect, households with greater income have the highest net worths, though high income cannot be taken as an always accurate indicator of net worth. Overall the number of wealthier households is on the rise, with baby boomers hitting the highs of their careers.
In addition, wealth is unevenly distributed, with the wealthiest 25% of US households owning 87% of the wealth in the United States, $54.2 trillion in 2009. U. S. Household and non-profit organization net worth rose from $44.2 trillion in Q1 2000 to a pre-recession peak of $67.7 trillion in Q3 2007. It fell $13.1 trillion to $54.6 trillion in Q1 2009 due to the subprime mortgage crisis. It recovered, rising to $86.8 trillion by Q4 2015. This is nearly double the 2000 level. While income is seen as a type of wealth in colloquial language use and income are two different measures of economic prosperity. Wealth is the total number of net possessions of an individual or household, while income is the total inflow of wealth over a given time period. Hence the change in wealth over that time period is equal to the income minus the expenditures in that period. Income is a so-called "flow" variable; when observing the changes in the wealth among American households, one can note an increase in wealthier individuals and a decrease in the number of poor households, while net worth increased most in semi-wealthy and wealthy households.
Overall the percentage of households with a negative net worth declined from 9.5% in 1989 to 4.1% in 2001. The percentage of net worths ranging from $500,000 to one million doubled while the percentage of millionaires tripled. From 1995 to 2004, there was tremendous growth among household wealth, as it nearly doubled from $21.9 trillion to $43.6 trillion, but the wealthiest quartile of the economic distribution made up 89% of this growth. During this time frame, wealth became unequal, the wealthiest 25% became wealthier. According to US Census Bureau statistics this "Upward shift" is most the result of a booming housing market which caused homeowners to experience tremendous increases in home equity. Life-cycles have attributed to the rising wealth among Americans. With more and more baby-boomers reaching the climax of their careers and the middle aged population making up a larger segment of the population now than before and more households have achieved comfortable levels of wealth. Zhu Xiao Di notes that household wealth peaks around families headed by people in their 50s, as a result, the baby boomer generation reached this age range at the time of the analysis.
Household net worth fell from 2007 to 2009 by a total of $17.5 trillion or 25.5%. This was the equivalent loss of one year of GDP. By the fourth quarter of 2010, the household net worth had recovered by a growth of 1.3 percent to a total of $56.8 trillion. An additional growth of 15.7 percent is needed just to bring the value to where it was before the recession started in December 2007. In 2014 a record breaking net worth of $80.7 trillion was achieved. Assets are known as the raw materials of wealth, they consist of stocks and other financial and non-financial property homeownership. While these assets are unequally distributed, financial assets are much more unequal. In 2004, the top 1% controlled 50.3% of the financial assets while the bottom 90% only held 14.4% of the total US financial assets. These discrepancies exist despite the availability of many wealth building tools established by the Federal Government; these include 401k plans, 403b plans, IRAs. Traditional IRAs, 401k and 403b plans are tax shelters created for working individuals.
These plans allow for tax sheltered contributions of earned income directly to tax sheltered savings accounts. Annual contributions are capped to ensure that high earners cannot enjoy the tax benefit disproportionally; the Roth IRA is another tool that can help create wealth in middle classes. Assets in Roth IRAs grow tax free. Contributions to Roth IRAs are limited to those with annual incomes less than the threshold established yearly by the IRS; the benefits of these plans, are only available to workers and families whose incomes and expenses allow them excess funds to commit for a long period until the investor reaches age 59½. The effect of these tools are further limited by the contribution limits placed on them. Including human capital such as skills, the United Nations estimated the total wealth of the United States in 2008 to be $118 trillion. According to an analysis that excludes pensions and social security, the richest 1% of the American population in 2007 owned 34.6% of the country's total wealth, the next 19% owned 50.5%.
Thus, the top 20% of Americans owned 85% of the country's wealth and the bottom 80% of the populati
Labor unions in the United States
Labor unions in the United States are organizations that represent workers in many industries recognized under US labor law. Their activity today centers on collective bargaining over wages and working conditions for their membership, on representing their members in disputes with management over violations of contract provisions. Larger trade unions typically engage in lobbying activities and electioneering at the state and federal level. Most unions in the United States are aligned with one of two larger umbrella organizations: the AFL-CIO created in 1955, the Change to Win Federation which split from the AFL-CIO in 2005. Both advocate policies and legislation on behalf of workers in the United States and Canada, take an active role in politics; the AFL-CIO is concerned with global trade issues. In 2016, there were 14.6 million members in the U. S. down from 17.7 million in 1983. The percentage of workers belonging to a union in the United States was 10.7%, compared to 20.1% in 1983. Union membership in the private sector has fallen under 7% — levels not seen since 1932.
From a global perspective, the density in 2013 was 7.7% in France, 18.1% in Germany, 27.1% in Canada, 88.9% in Iceland, highest in the world of major industrialized nations. The only country higher is the Vatican City State, 100% unionized among its lay employees. In the 21st century the most prominent unions are among public sector employees such as city employees, government workers and police. Members of unions are disproportionately older and residents of the Northeast, the Midwest, California. Union workers average 10-30% higher pay than non-union in the United States after controlling for individual and labor market characteristics. Although much smaller compared to their peak membership in the 1950s, American unions remain a political factor, both through mobilization of their own memberships and through coalitions with like-minded activist organizations around issues such as immigrant rights, trade policy, health care, living wage campaigns. Of special concern are efforts by cities and states to reduce the pension obligations owed to unionized workers who retire in the future.
Republicans elected with Tea Party support in 2010, most notably Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin, have launched major efforts against public sector unions due in part to state government pension obligations along with the allegation that the unions are too powerful. States with higher levels of union membership tend to have higher median incomes and standards of living, it has been asserted by scholars and the International Monetary Fund that rising income inequality in the United States is directly attributable to the decline of the labor movement and union membership. Unions began forming in the mid-19th century in response to the social and economic impact of the Industrial Revolution. National labor unions began to form in the post-Civil War Era; the Knights of Labor emerged as a major force in the late 1880s, but it collapsed because of poor organization, lack of effective leadership, disagreement over goals, strong opposition from employers and government forces. The American Federation of Labor, founded in 1886 and led by Samuel Gompers until his death in 1924, proved much more durable.
It arose as a loose coalition of various local unions. It helped coordinate and support strikes and became a major player in national politics on the side of the Democrats. American labor unions benefited from the New Deal policies of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1930s; the Wagner Act, in particular protected the right of unions to organize. Unions from this point developed closer ties to the Democratic Party, are considered a backbone element of the New Deal Coalition. Pro-business conservatives gained control of Congress in 1946, in 1947 passed the Taft-Hartley Act, drafted by Senator Robert A. Taft. President Truman vetoed it but the Conservative coalition overrode the veto; the veto override had considerable Democratic support, including 106 out of 177 Democrats in the House, 20 out of 42 Democrats in the Senate. The law, still in effect, banned union contributions to political candidates, restricted the power of unions to call strikes that "threatened national security," and forced the expulsion of Communist union leaders.
The unions failed. During the late 1950s, the Landrum Griffin Act of 1959 passed in the wake of Congressional investigations of corruption and undemocratic internal politics in the Teamsters and other unions. In 1955, the two largest labor organizations, the AFL and CIO, ending a division of over 20 years. AFL President George Meany became President of the new AFL-CIO, AFL Secretary-Treasurer William Schnitzler became AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer; the draft constitution was written by AFL Vice President Matthew Woll and CIO General Counsel Arthur Goldberg, while the joint policy statements were written by Woll, CIO Secretary-Treasurer James Carey, CIO vice presidents David McDonald and Joseph Curran, Brotherhood of Railway Clerks President George Harrison, Illinois AFL-CIO President Reuben Soderstrom. The percentage of workers belonging to a union in the United States peaked in 1954 at 35% and the total number of union members peaked in 1979 at an estimated 21.0 million. Membership has declined since, with private sector union membership beginning a steady decline that continues into the 2010s, but the membership of public sector unions grew steadily.
Passenger vehicles in the United States
Note: this article adopts the U. S. Department of Transportation's definition of a passenger vehicle, to mean a car or truck, used for passengers, excluding buses and trains. Since 2009 the United States is home to the second largest passenger vehicle market of any country in the world, second to China. Overall, there were an estimated 263.6 million registered vehicles in the United States in 2015, most of which were passenger vehicles. This number, along with the average age of vehicles, has increased since 1960; the United States is home to three large vehicle manufacturers: General Motors, Ford Motor Company, Chrysler, which have been referred to as the "Big Three". The United States Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration as well as the National Automobile Dealers Association have published data in regard to the total number of vehicles, growth trends, ratios between licensed drivers, the general population, the increasing number of vehicles on American roads. Overall passenger vehicles have been outnumbering licensed drivers since 1972 at an ever-increasing rate, while light trucks and vehicles manufactured by foreign makes have gained a larger share of the automotive market in the United States.
In 2001, 70% of Americans drove to work in cars. New York City is the only locality in the country where more than half of all households do not own a car. There are two types of sources for vehicle registration data, known as Vehicles in Operation: governmental sources such as the Bureau of Transportation Statistics and Federal Highway Administration, commercial, for-profit companies such as IHS and Hedges & Company. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics for 2012, there were 254,639,386 registered vehicles. Of these, 183,171,882 were classified as "Light duty vehicle, short wheel base", while another 50,588,676 were listed as "Light duty vehicle, long wheel base". Another 8,190,286 were classified as vehicles with two axles and six or more tires and 2,469,094 were classified as "Truck, combination". There were 8,454,939 motorcycles listed along with 764,509 buses. According to cumulative data by the Federal Highway Administration the number of motor vehicles increased from 1960 to 2006, only stagnating once in 1997 and declining from 1990 to 1991.
Otherwise the number of motor vehicles during that period rose by an estimated 3.69 million each year since 1960 with the largest annual growth between 1998 and 1999 as well as between 2000 and 2001 when the number of motor vehicles in the United States increased by eight million. Since the study by the FHWA, the number of vehicles has increased by eleven million, one of the largest recorded increases; the largest percentage increase was between the years of 1972 and 1973 when the number of cars increased by 5.88%. There are three main reasons; the first is due to variation. States are required to report registrations using form FHWA-561 once per calendar year or fiscal year. Forty six states end four end in March, August or September; this data is due to the FHWA by January 1 of the following year, creating a lag time of about six months and thereby not accounting for half a year of changes. Second, the government's definitions of vehicle classifications change over time. A footnote added to FHWA datafiles states, "...
Data for 2007-10 were calculated using a new methodology developed by FHWA. Data for these years are based on new categories and are not comparable to previous years". Third, the government can include vehicles not in use, or double-count vehicles that have been transferred across two states. According to the FHWA Office of Highway Policy Information, "Although many States continue to register specific vehicle types on a calendar year basis, all States use some form of the "staggered" system to register motor vehicles. Registration practices for commercial vehicles differ among States; the FHWA data include all vehicles which have been registered at any time throughout the calendar year. Data include vehicles which were retired during the year and vehicles that were registered in more than one State. In some States, it is possible that contrary to the FHWA reporting instructions, vehicles which have been registered twice in the same State may be reported as two vehicles". In the year 2001, the National Automobile Dealers Association conducted a study revealing the average age of vehicles in operation in the US.
The study found that of vehicles in operation in the US, 38.3% were older than ten years, 22.3% were between seven and ten years old, 25.8% were between three and six years old, 13.5% were less than two years old. According to this study the majority of vehicles, 60.6%, of vehicles were older than seven years in 2001. This high age of automobiles in the US might be explained by unaffordable prices for comparable new replacement vehicles and a corresponding gradual decline in sales figures since 1998. Many Americans own three or more vehicles; the low marginal cost of registering and insuring additional older vehicles, many of which are used, could cause the study to be skewed as these vehicles are still given full weight in the statistics. The median and mean age of automobiles has increased since 1969. In 2007, the overall median age for automobiles was 9.4 years, a significant increase over 1990 when the median age of vehicles in operation in the US was 6.5 years and 1969 when the mean age for automobiles was 5.1 years.
Of all body styles, pick-up trucks had the highest mean age in 2001 (9.4 yea
Economy of the United States
The economy of the United States is a developed mixed economy. It is the world's largest economy by the second-largest by purchasing power parity, it has the world's seventh-highest per capita GDP and the eleventh-highest per capita GDP in 2016. The US has a diversified, world-leading industrial sector, it is a high-technology innovator with the second-largest industrial output in the world. The U. S. dollar is the currency most used in international transactions and is the world's foremost reserve currency, backed by its science and technology, its military, the full faith of the U. S. government to reimburse its debts, its central role in a range of international institutions since World War II, the petrodollar system. Several countries use it as their official currency, in many others, it is the de facto currency, its largest trading partners are China, Mexico, Germany, South Korea, United Kingdom, France and Taiwan. The nation's economy is fueled by abundant natural resources, a well-developed infrastructure, high productivity.
It has the second-highest total-estimated value of natural resources, valued at $45 trillion in 2016. Americans have the highest average household and employee income among OECD nations, in 2010, they had the fourth-highest median household income, down from second-highest in 2007; the United States has held the world's largest national economy since at least the 1890s. It is the world's largest producer of oil and natural gas. In 2016, it was the world's largest trading nation as well as its second-largest manufacturer, representing a fifth of the global manufacturing output; the U. S. has both the largest economy and the largest industrial sector, at 2005 prices according to the UNCTAD. The U. S. not only has the largest internal market for goods, but dominates the trade in services. U. S. total trade amounted to $4.92 trillion in 2016. Of the world's 500 largest companies, 134 are headquartered in the US; the U. S. has one of the world's largest and most influential financial markets. The New York Stock Exchange is by far the world's largest stock exchange by market capitalization.
Foreign investments made in the U. S. total $2.4 trillion, while American investments in foreign countries total to over $3.3 trillion. The U. S. economy is ranked first in international ranking on venture capital and Global Research and Development funding. Consumer spending comprised 68% of the U. S. economy in 2018. The U. S. has the world's largest consumer market, with a household final consumption expenditure five times larger than that of Japan. The nation's labor market has attracted immigrants from all over the world and its net migration rate is among the highest in the world; the U. S. is one of the top-performing economies in studies such as the Ease of Doing Business Index, the Global Competitiveness Report, others. The U. S. economy experienced a serious economic downturn during the Great Recession which technically lasted from December 2007 – June 2009. However, real GDP regained its pre-crisis peak by 2011, household net worth by Q2 2012, non-farm payroll jobs by May 2014, the unemployment rate by September 2015.
Each of these variables continued into post-recession record territory following those dates, with the U. S. recovery becoming the second-longest on record in April 2018. Debt held by the public, a measure of national debt, was 77% of GDP in 2017, ranked the 43rd highest out of 207 countries. Income inequality ranked 41st highest among 156 countries in 2017, ranks among the highest in income inequality compared to other Western nations; the economic history of the United States began with American settlements in the 17th and 18th centuries. The American colonies went from marginally successful colonial economies to a small, independent farming economy, which in 1776 became the United States of America. In 180 years, the U. S. grew to a huge, industrialized economy that made up around one-fifth of the world economy. As a result, the U. S. GDP per capita converged on and surpassed that of the UK, as well as other nations that it trailed economically; the economy maintained high wages. In the early 1800s, the United States was agricultural with more than 80 percent of the population in farming.
Most of the manufacturing centered on the first stages of transformation of raw materials with lumber and saw mills and boots and shoes leading the way. The rich resource endowments contributed to the rapid economic expansion during the nineteenth century. Ample land availability allowed the number of farmers to keep growing, but activity in manufacturing, services and other sectors grew at a much faster pace. Thus, by 1860 the share of the farm population in the U. S. had fallen from over 80 percent to 50 percent. In the 19th century, recessions coincided with financial crises; the Panic of 1837 was followed by a five-year depression, with the failure of banks and then-record-high unemployment levels. Because of the great changes in the economy over the centuries, it is difficult to compare the severity of modern recessions to early recessions. Recessions after World War II appear to have been less severe than earlier recessions, but the reasons for this are unclear. At the beginning of the century new innovations and improvements in existing innovations opened the door for improvements in the standard of living among American consumers.
Many firms grew large by taking advantage of economies of scale and better communication to run nationwide operations. Concentration in these industries raised fears of monopoly that would drive prices higher and output l