US Economic Growth: Trends and Factors

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2016-60-2-26-39

V. Varnavskii, Institute of Control Sciences V.A. Trapeznikov, Russian Academy of Sciences, 65, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation; Primakov Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation (

Abstract.  The article considers the main trends and factors of US economic growth. Economic and technological reasons for slowdown of US Gross Domestic Product (GDP), GDP per capita and productivity are discussed. The author focuses on the estimates of key macroeconomic indicators published by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Bureau of Labor Statistics and other government agencies for analyzing historical growth and identifying factors contributions. Also, the article discusses points of view on the potential factors for continued economic growth in the future, including the statistics and calculations of the American economists. It is shown that the United States is nowadays facing fundamental problems of productivity, not just a cyclical downturn. A number of disturbing tendencies in the US economy, such as negative trends in both labor productivity and multifactor productivity (MFP) emerged well before the economic and financial crises of 2008 (Great Recession). As the author note, the US has entered into a period of relatively low GDP growth rate in comparison with 1990 – early 2000s. A reduction also occurred in the growth rate of GDP per capita, labor productivity and other indicators. Special attention is addressed to the roles of the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). Since mid-1990 the large-scale investments into the ICT provided a great portion of US economic growth and productivity. However, in the last 10 years the contribution of ICT to productivity growth noticeably reduced from its maximum value in 1995–2004. Nonetheless, it remains sizable and still contributes about one-fifth of the GDP growth and more than 40% of the growth in labor productivity. The author’s general conclusion is that, despite the existing problems in economic growth, United States remains the world’s most productive economy and the largest market for ICT goods and services. This is likely to continue encouraging the nation’s economic growth and productivity, although at a slower pace.

Keywords: USA, economic growth, GDP, GDP per capita, population, employment, unemployment, labor productivity, capital services, multifactor productivity, ICT, global competitiveness 

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For citation:
Varnavskii V. US Economic Growth: Trends and Factors. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2016, vol. 60, no. 2, pp. 26-39.

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