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Economic Overview

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. However, the economy recovered promptly, GDP growth rebouncing to an estimated 5.7% in 2021, driven by strong private consumption and investment and supported by highly accommodative monetary and fiscal policies. As tighter financial conditions negatively impacted demand, GDP growth slowed down to 1.6% in 2022, and is expected to further reduce to 1% in 2023 and 1.2% in 2024 (IMF).

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 -9.5% of GDP in 2021 (IMF). Despite some additional spending planned in the new infrastructure bill, the deficit decreased to -4% GDP in 2022, thanks to the phasing out of pandemic-related measures and resumed economic activity. The tightening of monetary policy is expected to contain the growth of general government fiscal deficit to -5.3% GDP in 2023 and -6% GDP in 2024 (IMF). 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 134.5% in 2020 (IMF). Fiscal tightening helped decreasing the debt burden to 122.1% GDP in 2022, and the IMF forecasts it to pick up to 122.9% GDP in 2023 and 126% GDP in 2024. The U.S., however, enjoys unmatched financing flexibility, being the issuer of the US dollar, the world's main reserve currency. Inflation rose sharply to reach 8.1% in 2022, amid high energy prices, persistent supply-chain disruptions, and labor shortages (IMF). The war in Ukraine exacerbated price increases for energy and food. The IMF forecasts inflation to move back towards the FED target of 2% (3.5% in 2023 and 2.2% in 2024), amid the relaxation of supply chain constraints and an adjustment in global energy prices. The 2023 budget focuses on deficit reduction, health, manufacturing, includes climate initiatives and allocates USD 44.9 billion for aid to Ukraine.

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 (IMF). The labour market, however, recovered quickly with unemployment falling to 3.7% in 2022 (IMF). However, due to the slowing economy, the IMF sees an increase in unemployment, with a forecast rate of 4.6% in 2023 and 5.4% in 2024. American citizens enjoy one of the highest GDP (PPP) per capita in the world, estimated at more than USD 75,000 in 2022 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 2021, the povery rate was 11.6%, with 37.9 million people in poverty, a level similar to 2020 (U.S. Census – latest data available).

Main Indicators 202020212022 (E)2023 (E)2024 (E)
GDP (billions USD) 21,060.4523,315.0825,464.4826,854.6027,741.12
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) -
GDP per Capita (USD) 63,57770,16076,34880,03582,132
General Government Balance (in % of GDP) -10.7-10.7-5.9-6.6-6.7
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 133.5126.4121.7122.2125.8
Inflation Rate (%)
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labour Force)
Current Account (billions USD) -619.70-846.35-925.56-728.79-689.93
Current Account (in % of GDP) -2.9-3.6-3.6-2.7-2.5

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database , October 2021

Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by La Coface.



Main Sectors of Industry

The United States is a highly industrialised country with high levels of productivity and the use of modern technologies. Key sectors include agriculture (corn, soy, beef, and cotton); manufacturing of machinery, chemical products, food, and automobiles; and a booming tertiary market focused on finance, new technologies, insurance, real estate, rentals, and leases. The American agricultural sector is without doubt one of the world's largest, with California alone producing more than one-third of the country's vegetables and two-thirds of its fruits and nuts. Nevertheless, agriculture only accounts for 1% of GDP and employs 1% of the workforce (World Bank, latest data available). According to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, keeping into consideration also food and related industries, the primary sector contributed USD 1.264 trillion to the U.S. GDP in 2021, a 5.4% share (the output of America’s farms alone contributed USD 164.7 billion). In 2021, 21.1 million full- and part-time jobs were related to the agricultural and food sectors - 10.5% of total U.S. employment. In the most recent survey, there were 2.02 million U.S. farms in 2020, for a total of 897 million acres of land (USDA).

Including a broad range of activities, the industrial sector contributes to 17.9% of GDP and employs 20% of the workforce (World Bank). Besides the industries mentioned above, the country is also the world leader in the aerospace and pharmaceutical industries. Thanks to its abundant natural resources, the United States has become a leader in the production of a number of minerals and has been able to maintain diversified production. The country is the world's largest producer of liquid natural gas, aluminium, electricity and nuclear energy. It is the world's third-largest oil producer and, for several years, has also been developing shale gas extraction on a large scale. The manufacturing sector alone accounts for 12% of the country’s value-added (U.S. Department of Commerce). As per data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, private goods-producing industries decreased 10.4% in Q2 2022.

The American economy is essentially based on services: the tertiary sector accounts for more than three-fourths of GDP (77.6%) and employs 79% of the country's workforce (World Bank). A large portion of GDP is composed of finance, insurance, real estate, rental, and leasing sector (20.1% in Q3 2022); as well as professional and business services (13.1%). The governmental sector (at federal, state and local levels) accounts for around 11.6% of the country’s GDP; while the share of educational services, healthcare and social assistance reaches 8.4%, ahead of wholesale (6.3%) and retail sales (5.7% - U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis). The latest figures from the Bureau of Economic Analysis show that U.S. private services-producing industries’ contribution to GDP increased 2% over Q2 2022. Within private services-producing industries, the leading contributors to the increase were health care and social assistance; professional, scientific, and technical services; real estate and rental and leasing; and accommodation and food services. Partly offsetting these increases was a decrease in wholesale trade.

Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 1.4 19.9 78.7
Value Added (in % of GDP) 1.0 17.9 77.6
Value Added (Annual % Change) -19.5 3.3 6.6

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.

Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
Euro (EUR) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 USD 0.940.890.850.890.88

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.



Foreign Trade

The U.S. is the world's largest importer and second-largest exporter of goods, as well as the largest importer and exporter of commercial services. Nevertheless, trade represents only 25% of the country’s GDP in 2021 (World Bank). U.S. top exports in 2021 were refined petroleum oils and gases, followed by cars, electronic integrated circuits, biological products and automotive parts and accessories. Main U.S. imports in the same year included cars, petroleum oils, automatic data processing machines, phone system devices, medicaments, and automobile parts. The U.S. signed 14 reciprocal free trade agreements, 5 preferential trade programs, 51 trade and investment framework agreements, and 48 bilateral investment treaties (LOC). In volume, exports of goods and services increased by 5.7% in 2022, and are expected to grow at a slower pace in 2023 (1.8% - IMF data). Imports’ volume increased by 9% in 2022, and is expected to contract by -1.2% in 2023 (IMF).

The country's main export partners in 2021 were Canada (17.5%), Mexico (15.8%), China (8.6%), Japan (4.3%), South Korea (3.8%), Germany (3.7%) and the United Kingdom (3.5%); whereas imports came chiefly from China (18.5%), Mexico (13.2%), Canada (12.4%), Japan (4.8%) and Germany (4.7% - data by Comtrade). Historically, the U.S. has taken the view that trade promotes economic growth, social stability, democracy and better international relations. However, in recent years the trend had reversed, with the insurgence of several trade disputes (particularly with China, accused of unfair trade practices). Trade relations between the U.S. and China finally started to normalize towards the end of Trump’s presidency, with the two countries signing the U.S.–China Phase One trade deal in Washington. Nevertheless, trade relations did not improve much during Biden’s presidency.

The U.S. trade balance is structurally negative and the trade deficit has further widened in recent years: in 2021 it stood at an estimated USD 1,181 billion (UNCTAD). In the same year, exports of goods increased to USD 1,754 billion, up by 22.6% year-on-year; with imports increasing at similar pace (+21.9% - at USD 2,935 billion) (WTO). Despite being a net importer of goods, the U.S. are a net exporter of services: in 2021, services exports totalled USD 795 billion (+16.2% y-o-y) against USD 550 billion of imports (+26.4% y-o-y, WTO). In Q2 2022, exports of goods increased USD 7.2 billion to USD 547.0 billion, reflecting increases in nonmonetary gold and in capital goods; while imports decreased USD 32.5 billion to USD 818.2 billion, reflecting widespread decreases in consumer goods and in industrial supplies and materials (U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis).

Foreign Trade Values 20172018201920202021
Imports of Goods (million USD) 2,408,4762,614,2212,567,4452,407,5272,935,314
Exports of Goods (million USD) 1,546,2731,663,9821,643,1611,431,6101,754,300
Imports of Services (million USD) 520,424540,951567,121435,748550,025
Exports of Services (million USD) 778,361839,594853,842684,001795,273

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Indicators 20172018201920202021
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 27.327.626.523.425.5
Trade Balance (million USD) -799,340-878,748-857,259-913,886-1,090,295
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) -510,339-578,600-559,675-653,990-845,050
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change)
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change)
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP)
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 12.312.411.910.210.9

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 20222023 (e)2024 (e)2025 (e)2026 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change)
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change) 8.2-

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook ; Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

International Economic Cooperation
The United States is a member of the following international economic organisations: G-7, G-10, G-20, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), WTO, IMF, OECD, ICC, among others. For the full list of economic and other international organisations in which participates the United States click here. International organisation membership of the United States is also outlined here.
Free Trade Agreements
The up-to-date list of Free Trade Agreements signed by the United States can be consulted here.

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
Canada 17.5%
Mexico 15.8%
China 8.6%
Japan 4.3%
South Korea 3.8%
See More Countries 50.1%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
China 18.5%
Mexico 13.2%
Canada 12.4%
Japan 4.8%
Germany 4.7%
See More Countries 46.4%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data



Political Outline

Current Political Leaders
President: Joe Biden (assumed office 20 January 2021) - Democratic Party
Vice President: Kamala Harris (assumed office 20 January 2021) - Democratic Party
Next Election Dates
Presidential: 5 November 2024
Senate: 3 November 2024
House of Representatives: 3 November 2024
Current Political Context
The year 2022 was dominated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February and the deadly war that has lasted since then. Despite the polarization of U.S. politics, both Democrats and Republicans supported humanitarian and military aid to Ukraine, a bipartisan approach praised by U.S. President Joe Biden. The United States has coordinated its sanctions against Russia with its western and NATO partners, in line with the Biden administration's effort to return to a multilateral approach and re-engage with traditional partners (Coface). In the end of 2022, following a bilateral meeting between Biden and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a new USD 1.58 billion aid package was announced. Despite soaring inflation and fears of an upcoming recession, the Democrats retained control of the Senate in the mid-term elections. The Republicans only won a thin majority in the House of Representatives, the worst mid-term performance by a party out of power in 20 years. This underperformance was largely attributed to the negative impact of former U.S. President Donald Trump, who remained on the political scene in 2022. Trump, under multiple investigations, announced that he would run for president again. Tensions with China remained high, particularly on issues related to trade and intellectual property protection, and intensifying human rights violations in Iran further reduced the likelihood of a nuclear deal.
Main Political Parties
Two political parties dominate politics:
- The Democratic Party: socially progressive, favours government intervention to temper the market economy
- The Republican Party (also known as the Grand Old Party, GOP): socially conservative, supports free-market capitalism and emphasises national defence.
There are other parties such as the Reform Party, the Libertarian Party, the Green Party, the Constitution Party, the Natural Law Party, the Party for Socialism and Liberation, the Working Class Party, and the Working Families Party.
Executive Power
The President is the Chief of State, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and the Head of Government. The President is elected by an electoral college (whose members are elected directly from each state) to serve a four-year term. These powers are checked by the U.S. Congress. The Cabinet is appointed by the President and subject to approval by the Senate.
Legislative Power
The legislature is bicameral in the United States. The Congress consists of the Senate (the upper house) and the House of Representatives (lower house). The Senate has the power to confirm or reject presidential appointments and to ratify treaties. It is composed of 100 senators. The House of Representatives has the sole right to initiate revenue bills, although they may be amended or rejected by the Senate. It is composed of 435 members. The President has the power to veto the legislation passed by the Congress, but the Congress can override the veto with a two-thirds vote.


COVID-19 Country Response

COVID-19 epidemic evolution
The U.S. is a federal system that grants extensive autonomy to each of the 50 states. For that reason there is no single nationwide policy related to the coronavirus pandemic. To find data about the latest status of the COVID-19 pandemic evolution in the United States, please visit the Center for Disease Control “Cases in U.S.” with the official federal data. The website serves as a portal for U.S. government resources for COVID-19. However some of the official federal data is not accurate and each of the 50 states keeps different records. It is therefore advisable to also consult the New York Times “Coronavirus in the U.S.: Latest Map and Case Count” page and the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center, each of which has U.S.-specific data as well as worldwide data collected from many sources. For specific states and cities is it advisable to consult their individual websites.
For the international outlook you can consult the latest situation reports published by the World Health Organisation as well as the global daily statistics on the coronavirus pandemic evolution including data on confirmed cases and deaths by country
Sanitary measures
To find out about public health suggestions and the suggested sanitary measures in the United States, please consult the U.S. government’s Center for Disease Control Cornonavirus website (in English, Spanish, Chinese Korean and Vietnamese). The website includes the up-to-date information on the containment suggestions put in place by the federal government and public health recommendations. As each of the 50 states and, in some cases, only specific counties or cities, has its own rules, it is advisable to consult local state, county or city websites for localised information. The CDC provides a list of State & Territorial Health Department Websites. The website also offers information about sanitary measures, while provides a list of the most important U.S. government websites for COVID-19 information.
Travel restrictions
The COVID-19 situation, including the spread of new variants, evolves rapidly and differs from country to country. All travelers need to pay close attention to the conditions at their destination before traveling. Regularly updated information for all countries with regards to Covid-19 related travel restrictions in place including entry regulations, flight bans, test requirements and quarantine is available on TravelDoc Infopage.
It is also highly recommended to consult COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map provided and updated on the daily basis by IATA.
The US government website of Centers of Disease Control and Prevention provides COVID-19 Travel Recommendations by Destination.
The UK Foreign travel advice also provides travelling abroad advice for all countries, including the latest information on coronavirus, safety and security, entry requirements and travel warnings.
Import & export restrictions
The U.S. government has enacted temporary COVID-19 related trade measures which aim to restrict exports of vital medical supplies and to liberalize imports of vital medical supplies, as well as other essential products. For the updated information on the introduced trade import and export restrictions and other trade measures (ex. tariffs reductions) due to COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the section dedicated to the U.S. on International Trade Centre's COVID-19 Temporary Trade Measures webpage.

For further information on all the measures applicable to movement of goods during the period of sanitary emergency due to the COVID-19 outbreak (including eventual restrictions on imports and exports, if applicable), you can also consult Customs and Border Control’s website which publishes information on import and export measures in vigour in its Trade Announcements and Advisories. Customs and Border Control also offers a complete resource for all imports and exports during the crisis at COVID-19 Relief Imports How can we help.
Economic recovery plan
For information on the economic recovery scheme put in place by the U.S. government to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the U.S. economy, please visit the website of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. There is information about the U.S. economic emergency plan, known as the Cares Act on the department’s website.
For a general overview of the key economic policy responses to the COVID-19 outbreak (fiscal, monetary and macroeconomic) taken by the U.S. government to limit the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the section dedicated to the United States in the IMF’s Policy Tracker platform.
Support plan for businesses
For information on the local business support scheme established by the US government to help small and medium-sized companies to deal with the economic impacts of the COVID19 epidemic on their activity, please consult the's section on "Supporting Small Businesses",  “Assistance for Small Businesses“ section of the Treasury Department’s website.
For a general overview of international SME support policy responses to the COVID-19 outbreak refer to the OECD's SME Covid-19 Policy Responses document. You can also consult the World Bank's Map of SME-Support Measures in Response to COVID-19.
Support plan for exporters
EXIM Bank's website "Coronavirus Response" lists all support measures the EXIM bank is providing to exporters. Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration temporarily reduced or eliminated the costs of several of their export services in an effort to support U.S. businesses affected by COVID-19.