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United States of America - Economy

Whitaker's Almanack Version

Financial Outlook

The economy grew by 1.9% in 2013, less than the 2.8% expansion seen in 2012. Spending cuts and higher federal taxes were considered to have restricted overall growth in 2013. However, the economy strengthened in the second half of the year, with GDP expanding at a yearly rate of 3.2% in the last quarter, according to the Commerce Department. Signs of recovery persuaded the Federal Reserve to begin scaling back its asset purchase program from US$85 billion/month to US$75 billion/month in January 2014. In February 2014 Janet Yellen took over from Ben Bernanke as head of the Federal Reserve. The unemployment rate fell to a five-year low of 6.7% in 2013. The budget deficit fell to US$560.5 billion, down from US$1.06 trillion in 2012. In December 2013 the government even posted a surplus of US$53.22 billion. The reviving housing market and cheap energy unleashed by the shale energy revolution are driving economic growth and boosting the government’s finances. In December 2013, US lawmakers negotiated a two-year budget deal, setting a US$1.012 trillion spending ceiling for the 2014 fiscal year, which ends 30 September.

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