Economic Environment

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The United States economic environment consisted of many criteria between the years 1999-2003. One factor of influence on the economy was the unemployment rate of Americans. Personal income was another factor that played into the economy. Another economic factor was the price of oil. The last factor was that of the unimaginable War in Iraq. These factors all combined to impact the economic environment. Unemployment rates have always been atop Americans minds. Today more than ever, Americans worry about the safety of their job. From the Bureau of Labor Statistics Data website, I found the following results. During 1999, the unemployment rate of people aged 16 years and over was 4.3% at the beginning of the year, with minor fluctuations that resulted in 4.0% at the end of the year. During 2000, the unemployment rate was 4.0% at the beginning of the year with again, minor fluctuations that resulted in 3.9% at the end of the year. However, during the year 2001, there were significant unemployment rate jumps. From the months of January to July, there was very little change. A 0.3% jump was recorded from July to August. During May of 2001 to the end of the year, there was a constant increase in the unemployment rate. The rate was 4.3% in May and increased to 5.7% in December. September 11 undoubtedly played a role in this unemployment catastrophe which is shown by the jump in September of 5.0% to 5.3%. 2002 was another fairly unchanged year with a starting unemployment rate of 5.7% and an ending rate of 6.0%. During 2003 there were some variations. A starting rate of 5.8% was reported in January and increased to 6.3% in June. From there till the end of the year there was a decreasing rate to 5.7%. Unemployment leads to fewer Americans spending less money because they have less money to spend.

The national income is something that has always mystified me. What surprises me even more though is that every year the national income has increased. In 1999, the National Income of the United States was $7,802,400,000,000 as reported by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Yes, that is right, almost eight trillion dollars. In 2000, the National Income was $8,429,700,000,000. In just one year, there was an increase on national income of $600 billion. How can this happen, one might ask. There is no clear cut answer, but one guess is that since the unemployment rate decreased, there more money was earned which increased the national income. In 2001, the National Income was $8,724,100,000,000. There was a slight increase of about $300 billion, but relatively speaking not as much as the year before. Once again September 11 played a major role in the earning potential of Americans. This is most evident from the data found from the year 2002. There was an increase of only $157 billion. It seems as though there was less personal income being earned. Each year, the amount of national income was only increasing by half that of the previous year. In 2003 things somewhat turned around. There was a reported $300 billion increase from the year 2002. Call it high hopes, but the unemployment rate was 6.3%, the highest in this time span. I am perplexed as to how the nation, as a whole, can earn more money with an increasing unemployment rate.

Oil prices have always been a major discussion in this country. While doing research I found some very interesting facts. “In 1999, U.S. oil refiners made 22.8 cents for every gallon of gasoline refined from crude oil. By 2003, they were making 40.8 cents for every gallon of gasoline refined, a 79% jump,” (Public Citizen). This was definitely an economic factor which influenced Americans decisions. Granted gas prices were not as high as they are today, but back then $2.00 a gallon was unheard-of. “Since 2001, the five largest oil refining companies operating in America—ExxonMobil, Valero, ConocoPhillips, Shell and BP—have recorded $228 billion in profits” (Public...
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