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United States


The United States has a capitalist mixed economy[475] which is fueled by abundant natural resources and high productivity.[476] According to the International Monetary Fund, the U.S. GDP of $16.8 trillion constitutes 24% of the gross world product at market exchange rates and over 19% of the gross world product at purchasing power parity (PPP).[477]

The nominal GDP of the U.S. is estimated to be $17.528 trillion as of 2014[478] From 1983 to 2008, U.S. real compounded annual GDP growth was 3.3%, compared to a 2.3% weighted average for the rest of the G7.[479] The country ranks ninth in the world in nominal GDP per capita according to the United Nations (first in the Americas)[480] and sixth in GDP per capita at PPP.[477] The U.S. dollar is the world’s primary reserve currency.[481]

The United States is the largest importer of goods and second-largest exporter, though exports per capita are relatively low. In 2010, the total U.S. trade deficit was $635 billion.[482] Canada, China, Mexico, Japan, and Germany are its top trading partners.[483] In 2010, oil was the largest import commodity, while transportation equipment was the country’s largest export.[482] Japan is the largest foreign holder of U.S. public debt.[484]The largest holder of the U.S. debt are American entities, including federal government accounts and the Federal Reserve, who hold the majority of the debt.[485][486][487][488][fn 14]

In 2009, the private sector was estimated to constitute 86.4% of the economy, with federal government activity accounting for 4.3% and state and local government activity (including federal transfers) the remaining 9.3%.[491] The number of employees at all levels of government outnumber those in manufacturing by 1.7 to 1.[492] While its economy has reached a postindustrial level of development and its service sector constitutes 67.8% of GDP, the United States remains an industrial power.[493] The leading business field by gross business receipts is wholesale and retail trade; by net income it is manufacturing.[494] In the franchising business model, McDonald’s and Subway are the two most recognized brands in the world. Coca-Cola is the most recognized soft drink company in the world.[495]

Chemical products are the leading manufacturing field.[496] The United States is the largest producer of oil in the world, as well as its second-largest importer.[497] It is the world’s number one producer of electrical and nuclear energy, as well as liquid natural gas, sulfur, phosphates, and salt. The National Mining Association provides data pertaining to coal and minerals that include beryllium, copper, lead, magnesium, zinc, titanium and others.[498][499]

Agriculture accounts for just under 1% of GDP,[493] yet the United States is the world’s top producer of corn[500] and soybeans.[501] The National Agricultural Statistics Service maintains agricultural statistics for products that include peanuts, oats, rye, wheat, rice, cotton, corn, barley, hay, sunflowers, and oilseeds. In addition, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides livestock statistics regarding beef, poultry, pork, and dairy products. The country is the primary developer and grower of genetically modified food, representing half of the world’s biotech crops.[502]

Consumer spending comprises 68% of the U.S. economy in 2015.[503] In August 2010, the American labor force consisted of 154.1 million people. With 21.2 million people, government is the leading field of employment. The largest private employment sector is health care and social assistance, with 16.4 million people. About 12% of workers are unionized, compared to 30% in Western Europe.[504] The World Bank ranks the United States first in the ease of hiring and firing workers.[505] The United States is ranked among the top three in the Global Competitiveness Report as well. It has a smaller welfare state and redistributes less income through government action than European nations tend to.

Americans have the highest average household and employee income among OECD nations, and in 2007 had the second-highest median household income.[512][513][514] According to the Census Bureau, median household income was $59,039 in 2016.[515] Accounting for 4.4% of the global population, Americans collectively possess 41.6% of the world’s total wealth,[516] and Americans make up roughly half of the world’s population of millionaires.[517]The Global Food Security Index ranked the U.S. number one for food affordability and overall food security in March 2013.[518] Americans on average have over twice as much living space per dwelling and per person as European Union residents, and more than every EU nation.[519] For 2013 the United Nations Development Programme ranked the United States 5th among 187 countries in its Human Development Index and 28th in its inequality-adjusted HDI (IHDI).[520]


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