Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) – identify the periods of expansions (boom) and recessions (depression)

Analytical Assignments

  1. GDP and Its Components

(1). Visit the website of the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) at http://www.bea.gov/national/index.htm. Click on “Gross Domestic Product (GDP)”. Historical data on real/nominal GDP can be found in two excel files: Current-dollar and “real” GDP (Excel) and Percent change from preceding period (Excel).

(a) Plot graphs separately using nominal GDP, real GDP, nominal GDP growth rate, real GDP growth rate.

(b) Based on your graphs, can you roughly identify the periods of expansions (boom) and recessions (depression)?

(2). Click on “Balance of Payments”. Historical data on international trade can be found in the excel file: U.S. Trade in Goods and Services, 1992-present.

(a) Plot the evolution of US exports, imports, and current account balances.

(b) Based nominal GDP data and current account balances, calculate current account deficit/surplus (CA/GDP in percentage). Can you roughly identify the periods in which US runs a deficit or a surplus?

  1. Inflation

Visit the website of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis at https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/categories/9 Under “Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers: All Items”, Click “Seasonally Adjusted”, and then “Download Data”. Down annual data (you should specify “Annual”) from 1947 to present.

(1). Plot graphs for CPI index and percentage change (inflation rate). Can you roughly identify periods of deflation or inflation?

(2). Do the same work for “Food and Beverages”, “Housing”, and “Medical Care”, respectively. Are inflation rates in these sectors consistent with the overall inflation or not?


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