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United States

Economics

Economic Profile

The US has not only the world’s largest economy by far, but also one that is less dependent on trade than its closest peers, China and the European Union. This tendency has been strengthened by recent moves towards increasing energy independence. The country’s business cycle is thus driven to a substantial degree by developments in its domestic housing and service sectors. The US Federal Reserve, the most important central bank in the world, is unusual in having a dual mandate that requires it pay attention to both inflation and to employment.

United States

Real Gross Domestic Product

Contributors to real gross domestic product growth, quarter-over-quarter change, annualized rate, updates quarterly

Measures the change in the inflation-adjusted value of all goods and services produced in the economy. Comprises private consumption and investment, inventory buildup, government spending and net exports. Markets watch this indicator to gauge the strength and composition of growth.

United States

Yield Curve

10-year Treasury yield minus 2-year, %,

Measures the gap between long-term and short-term government borrowing rates - in this case between 10- and 2-year Treasury instruments. Because investors normally require more compensation for taking longer-term risk, the yield curve is typically positively-sloped. But an inverted curve can appear when investors believe interest rates will decline in the future - a situation that can arise when inflation is seen subsiding, or when a recession is expected. An inversion of the yield curve has preceded every US recession for the past half century.

United States

Non-Farm Payrolls

Non-Farm Payrolls, monthly change, 3-month average change, thousands, SA, updates monthly

Measures the number of jobs added in the United States over the previous month. The number is typically released on the first Friday of each month by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and is viewed by investors as a critical indicator of the overall economic health of the US economy, and as a key driver of Federal Reserve policy. The 3-month average helps smooth out volatility, and helps illuminate the underlying trend.

United States

Unemployment Rate

Unemployment Rate, All Persons, %, SA, Updated Monthly

The Unemployment Rate represents the percentage of the labour force currently not working but actively seeking employment. Markets follow changes in unemployment because they can reflect the cyclical health of the economy and the likelihood that wage demands may create inflationary pressures.

United States

Personal Consumption Expenditures

All Items, Core (All Items Excluding Food and Energy), Personal Consumption Expenditures Index, Annual Change, %, SA

The Personal Consumption Expenditure Index is a measure of the average increase in prices for all domestic personal consumption, and is reported in two ways: comprehensively, using all categories, and more narrowly, excluding highly-volatile food and energy costs. The latter is known as the Core measure, and is the Federal Reserve’s preferred measure of inflation.

United States

Consumer Prices

Consumer Price Indices, Annual Change, %, NSA, Updates Monthly

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a measure of the change over time in the average prices paid by urban consumers for a market basket of consumer goods and services. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports both a “All Items” inflation number that includes all items, and a “Core” number that strips out more volatile food and energy prices. "Services ex. Energy" captures non-tangible products with energy services excluded, and the "core-core" measure is a special aggregate that includes all items less food, shelter, energy, and used cars and trucks.

United States

Cumulative Change in Prices

Cumulative Change in Selected Price Indices Since January 2000, %, SA

The Cumulative Change in Prices chart shows percentage price changes for a select group of goods and services relative to a January 2000 baseline. The calculations are derived from Bureau of Labor Statistics detailed tables, and are meant to illustrate relative price divergences across categories.

United States

Trade Balance

Goods and Services Trade Balance, total, and ex.petroleum, billions USD, SA, updates monthly

Measures the difference in value between imported and exported goods and services. A positive number indicates that more goods and services were exported than imported - generating a trade surplus - and a negative number indicates a deficit. Trade imbalances may reflect fleeting differences in growth rates or more permanent factors in the composition of growth or the endowment and price of natural resources.

United States

Federal Funds Target Range

Upper and Lower Bounds, %

The Federal Funds Target Range is the target interest rate band set by the Federal Open Market Committee. This is the rate at which commercial banks borrow and lend their excess reserves to each other overnight, and influences short-term rates across the global financial system.

United States

Money Supply Growth

M2 Money Supply, Annual Change, %, SA, Updates Monthly

M2 Money Supply is a measure of currency that includes cash, checking deposits, and non-cash assets that can easily be converted into cash. Markets don’t typically respond directly to changes in M2, but growth in the money supply can influence inflation, interest rates, and exchange rates over longer time horizons.

United States

Federal Reserve Balance Sheet

Total Assets (Less Eliminations from Consolidation), Billions USD

The Federal Reserve Balance Sheet is a weekly financial statement that shows what the central bank owes and owns. The Fed’s assets consist primarily of Treasury instruments and agency mortgage-backed securities. Its liabilities are mostly currency in circulation, commercial bank reserves, and reverse repurchase agreements collateralized using Treasury securities. The balance sheet is used to influence interest rates - when officials want to stimulate the economy, it expands, and when they wish to tighten financial conditions, it shrinks.

United States

Debt Ratios

Credit to General Government, Non-Financial Corporate, and Household Sectors, % of Gross Domestic Product at Market Value

Aggregate Debt Ratios measure the total borrowing of the general government, non-financial corporate, and household sectors, expressed as a share of gross domestic product. Total debt is followed by investors as a gauge of the vulnerability of an economy to financial shocks. An overly fast pace of debt growth is also frequently associated with a buildup of unproductive investment and excessively high asset valuations.

United States

Net International Investment Position

Net International Investment Position, Billions USD, Updates Annually

The net international investment position is the difference between the external financial assets and liabilities of a nation. A nation with a positive position is a creditor nation and is generally considered a safe haven in financial markets. A nation with a negative position is a debtor nation, with deeper balance of payments vulnerabilities.