World Economies

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Volume 28 – World Economies

This volume surveys the economies of the G-7 nations using five indicators.

Annual rate of change of real Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
Gross Domestic Product represents the total market value of all goods and services produced by an economy during a given period of time (we used one year). It is the "granddaddy" of measures of the economy. Real GDP is GDP adjusted for inflation. Falling real GDP is one definition of a recession.
Annual Rates of change of Industrial Production
The Industrial Production Index measures the physical volume of output of each nation’s factories, mines and utilities. This is most of what is described as the "goods-producing" sector of the economy. This sector is quite responsive to changes in economic activity. Because the Industrial Production Index measures quantity of production rather than value of production, it automatically adjusts for inflation.
Annual Rates of change of the Unemployment Rate (inverted scale)
While the unemployment rate is considered a lagging indicator of the economy, the annual rate of change of the unemployment rate may be a coincident, or even leading, indicator of economic growth. Inverting the scale means that this line rises (the enemployment rate is falling) when the economy is expanding.
Unemployment Rate (inverted scale)
Economists use employment reports to help forecast Industrial Production, and subsequently use Industrial Production to help forecast GDP. While the unemployment is a lagging indicator, it can be used to confirm trends seen in the previous three indicators. Inverting the scale means that this line rises (the enemployment rate is falling) when the economy is expanding.
Current Account Balance
The current account balance is the broadest measure of international trade flows. It includes both goods (Merchandise Trade Deficit) and services, as well as unilateral transfers (e.g., foreign aid) and financial flows. In other words, after you net out everything, the current account balance measures how much money is flowing into or out of the country.

Each of the first seven charts (V28a-g) shows these five economic indicators for each country.

The charts are five-panel, portrait, charts.

Country Start Date* Chart V28c, German Economic Indicators, June 1997 Edition (4kb)
Canada 1947
France 1968
Germany 1963
Italy 1970
Japan 1953
United Kingdom 1947
United States 1948
* the start date is the beginning of the chart. At least one series on each chart goes back that far. Some of the data series may start later than that.

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High Resolution, Adobe Acrobat PDF file (89kb)
This file is a 600 dot per inch rendering of the June 1997 V28c chart (thumbnail above). The actual charts have the edition and chart number printed in the margin (between the holes for the three ring binder).

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Each of the last five charts (V28h-l) shows one economic indicator in each country.

Economic Indicator Start Date* Description
Real GDP (annual rates of change) 1948 A portrait, Comparable Growth Scale chart. The growth of real GDP is the most basic measure of economic growth.
Industrial Production (annual rates of change) 1960 A portrait, Comparable Growth Scale chart.
Unemployment Rates (annual rates of change) 1949 A portrait, Comparable Growth Scale chart.
Unemployment Rates 1975 A portrait, Comparable Log Scale chart. Note that this is the Unemployment Rate, not its rate of change.
Current Account Balance 1970 A seven panel, portrait chart (arithmetic scales).

"Group of Seven" or G7

The first Summit, held at Rambouillet, France in November 1975, was attended by France, the United States, Britain, Germany, Japan, and Italy. Canada joined the group in 1977 at the San Juan, Puerto Rico Summit, and the European Community came aboard at the London Summit of 1977. This volume addresses the economies of the seven countries (excluding the European Community, since history for that amalgamation is comparatively brief).

Membership in the G7 has been fixed since 1977, although 15 developing countries' leaders met with the G7 leaders prior to the Paris Summit of 1989. Since 1991, the USSR and then Russia have engaged in a post-Summit dialogue with the G7. Beginning with the Naples Summit of 1994, the G7 and Russia have met as the "Political 8" (P8), after each G7 Summit.

GDP or GNP, what's the difference?

GDP has replaced Gross National Product (GNP) as the government’s economic yardstick. The two measures are almost the same, but they differ in one regard. GNP measures the value of output produced by resources owned by the citizens of a country, regardless of where the production occurs. GDP, in contrast, measures all of the output produced within the political borders of a country, regardless of the citizenship of the resources doing the producing.

This volume alone presents 35 data series on twelve charts!

This volume was introduced in the March 1997 edition.

Volume 27

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Last modified: April 06, 2005