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Economic Outline

Economic Indicators

For the latest updates on the key economic responses from governments to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the IMF's policy tracking platform Policy Responses to COVID-19.

The United States is the world's largest economy, ahead of China. After a decade of growth, the country’s GDP growth rate turned negative in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, exacerbated by rising inequalities and obsolete infrastructure, which are slowing down potential GDP growth. However, output contraction in 2020 was less severe than other large advanced economies and the country recovered quickly from the shock, returning to pre-pandemic GDP levels in Q2/2021 already. The American Rescue Plan underpinned private consumption, contributing to overall GDP growth of 6% over the year, despite supply-side bottlenecks and the ongoing pandemic dragging partially the economic activity. The current account deficit widened in the last couple of years but is projected to remain steady in terms of GDP over the forecast horizon. Investment and household consumption are projected to be the main growth drivers in 2022, with the IMF forecasting a robust GDP growth of 5.2% before slowing to 2.2% in 2023.

Concerning public finances, the fiscal measures implemented to contain the effects of the COVID-19-induced crisis weighed heavily on the government budget, resulting in a deficit of 8.8% of GDP in 2021. Despite some additional spending planned in the new infrastructure bill, the deficit is expected to gradually decrease to 8.3% in 2022 and then again to 7.1% in 2023 (IMF), also thanks to the phasing out of pandemic-related measures and resumed economic activity. The government’s debt-to-GDP ratio, already on an upward trend in recent years, increased consistently to finance spending conceded to support households and businesses, reaching 133.3% in 2021 (from a pre-pandemic level of 108.5%). The U.S., however, enjoys unmatched financing flexibility, being the issuer of the US dollar, the world's main reserve currency. The IMF forecasts the debt burden to decline to 130.7% this year before picking up marginally in 2023 (131.1%). Headline inflation rose sharply over 2021 jumping to 4.3% amid strong base effects, high energy prices, and supply constraints. Although there are signs of wage pressure in several market segments, inflation is expected to move back towards the FED target of 2% over the forecast horizon (to 2.7% in 2023 following a rate of 3.5% this year), amid the relaxation of supply chain constraints and an adjustment in global energy prices.

The first impact of the COVID-19 crisis was incredibly heavy on the U.S. labour market, with the unemployment rate skyrocketing to 8.1% in 2020. The labour market, however, recovered quickly with unemployment falling to 5.4% at the end of 2021. Jobs growth has slowed sharply towards the end of the year, but average working hours have increased. The IMF sees a further reduction in unemployment, with a forecast rate of 3.5% in 2022 and 3% in 2023. American citizens enjoy one of the highest GDP (PPP) per capita in the world, estimated at USD 68,309 in 2021 by the IMF. Nevertheless, inequalities are still significant, as they tend to be worsened by current public health policies (with rising numbers of people without health insurance). In 2020, there were 37.2 million people in poverty, approximately 3.3 million more than one year earlier (U.S. Census – latest data available).

 
Main Indicators 201920202021 (e)2022 (e)2023 (e)
GDP (billions USD) 21,372.6020,893.75e22,939.5824,796.0825,938.16
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) 2.3-3.4e5.64.02.6
GDP per Capita (USD) 65,052e63,358e69,37574,72577,881
General Government Balance (in % of GDP) -6.1-10.7e-8.8-8.3-7.1
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 108.5133.9e133.3130.7131.1
Inflation Rate (%) 1.81.2e4.77.72.9
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labour Force) 3.78.1e5.43.53.0
Current Account (billions USD) -472.15-616.10e-796.12-867.97-854.07
Current Account (in % of GDP) -2.2-2.9e-3.5-3.5-3.3

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database, 2016

Note: (e) Estimated Data

 
Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
American Dollar (USD) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 ZAR 0.070.080.080.070.06

Source: World Bank, 2015

 

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Latest Update: June 2022