AQUA BOOK 2014 - Page 4

The Big Picture While the U.S. labor market has been slow in recouping all massive job losses during the Great Recession of 20072009, overall economic activity nationwide has recently revved up at a pace faster than most forecasts. For the last four official releases, the growth rate of U.S. GDP more than doubled that of the previous quarter. Gross domestic product—the total output of goods and services—is the broadest measure of the size of an economy. U.S. GDP Growth, Annualized Quarterly % Change U.S. GDP Growth, Annualized Quarterly % Change 6% The latest GDP figures underscore the strength of the U.S. economy. For the future course of the economy, leading economic indicators can provide hints. Those indicators are made up of such factors as stock prices, manufacturing activity and building permits, which often change before the overall economy changes. As such, leading indicators offer foresight into where the economy is headed in the near future. The readings for both Texas and the U.S. since mid-2012 point to continued improvement in the overall economic environment. Leading Economic Indicators 4% Leading Economic Indicators 2% 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 One of the leading economic indicators is the overall value of stock prices. The S&P 500 index, a common measure of U.S. stock prices, has continued to appreciate after surpassing its previous peak reached before the onset of the 2008 financial crisis. As financial capital flows fre