The economy has recently been experiencing notable gains in economic growth with a handful of industries leading the way, according to a federal report Friday.
The economy has finally gained traction following an unusually prolonged recovery. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) most recently ended last year with an increase of 2.1 percent. The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released a report detailing what industries contributed most to the increase.
“Finance and insurance; retail trade; and professional, scientific, and technical services were the leading contributors to the increase,” the report states. “19 of 22 industry groups contributed to the overall 2.1 percent increase in real GDP in the fourth quarter.”
The GDP tracks the total dollar value of all goods and services produced over a specific time period. It is updated on a quarterly basis with the next report expected for April 28. The latest report saw gains in the final two quarters of last year after being stuck around one percent.
The finance and insurance sector saw the biggest increase at 6.3 percent in the fourth quarter. That same sector saw a 9.0 percent increase in the third quarter. The report concludes the growth primarily reflected recent actions by the Federal Reserve.
The finance and insurance sector was followed by retail trade which saw a 5.7 percent increase. The growth reflects gains by gas stations, building material, garden equipment, and supplies stores. Professional, scientific, and technical services increased by 3.6 percent.
GDP growth hit its peak last year during the third quarter by reaching 3.5 percent. The increase came as welcome news as the economy had shown lackluster growth in the previous quarters. The economy was slow to recover following a financial crisis a decade earlier.
Former President Barack oversaw the recovery throughout his time in office. The recession was sparked by the subprime mortgage crisis and the financial crisis of 2007. The former president saw solid economic growth towards the end of his presidency.
President Donald Trump entered office promising to address unresolved issues facing the economy. The labor force participation rate and underemployment have been problematic since the recession. The economy has also experienced slow wage growth and low productivity.
The labor force participation rate tracks the number of employed and those actively seeking work as a percentage of the total population. The participation rate has dropped considerably since the last recession and now it’s at 63.0 percent. It has leveled over the last year but has failed to regain those losses.
Trump has also promised to protect domestic workers from unfair foreign competition. He has primarily focused on trade and immigration. Nevertheless, there is concern that too much economic protectionism could cause problems, even for the domestic workers it’s meant to help.