Project 1 Reflection

In this reflection you should be explaining what you learned from the experience of doing this project. There is a 750 word limit to this reflection. It should not be a reiteration of how you calculated certain values, but rather insight on both the process of calculating the statistics yourself and how they all tie together.

From Monash: When reflecting on your learning (such as an educational theory you’ve learned about within a unit) you might address the following questions:

  • Description – What is the concept, idea or theory you are reflecting on?
  • Analysis – Are there aspects you found particularly interesting or challenging? Does it tie in with anything you have learned in the past? Has it changed the way you think, or affirmed something you already knew?
  • Outcomes or Action – What else might you need to find out? Do you have any questions? How might you incorporate or apply these ideas in the future, perhaps in your professional life?

25 thoughts on “Project 1 Reflection”

  1. One of the first topics that I touched base on was interest rate and the Fed and I wanted to focus more on the relationship between the two and how they both correlate. I had no knowledge of how the Fed and interest rates go hand in hand but after doing research, I learned some interesting facts that I never had any knowledge of. The Fed or the Federal Reserve Board has a really important role in determining when interest rates go up or go down to be able to balance the economy. When the economy is doing really well, the Fed decides to increase the interest rates only to control the amount of spending in America by consumers to avoid crazy financial decisions that can hurt the amount of money that consumers have spent. My only knowledge about interest rates was that there is a time when they are high and a time when they aren’t as high. More importantly, I didn’t really care about the change in interest rates and I never paid attention to topics such as interest rates so to be able to know the role they play in making sure the economy is balanced and the consumers and businesses are able to grow. If I ever open a business, knowing about interest rates and the advantage of low-interest rates, I would know when I benefitting by borrowing money for my business and when I am not.

    My second topic focused on unemployment rates and how unemployment rates are calculated but also looking at the recent unemployment rate. I particularly wanted to pick this topic because I wanted to see how COVID has affected the unemployment rates. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S unemployment rate dropped to 13.3% in May which was slightly below the April high of 14.7%. So the unemployment rate in the month of April in the United States was 14.7% which is something I expected in terms of knowing that a lot of people lost their jobs. But I was fascinated with how much the unemployment rate went down in the next month even though it is still high. You would think that it would still be around the same percentage but it actually went down by 1.4 percent and that is due to the amount of jobs employers added (2.5 million jobs in just a month of May). I feel like having more jobs that are able to be done online as well would be efficient in cases where another pandemic like this would happen and fewer people would lose their jobs.

    GDP was a little confusing, especially finding the right data to be able to calculate how the GDP was found. This was my first time looking through such data online and being able to find data that would help with determining the GDP for a given year. I took a macro class before this and I was never assigned an assignment like this where I would have to really use my research skills to find data about the economy and be able to explain how that certain data was calculated. What was hard about this topic was looking at the right data and finding it. However, once I did find the data, I was yet confused again because the data that Fred was giving was so different and then I did some research and realized that the data was given in the percentage change in GDP and I just needed to subtract the GDP by 100 to get the number used in the data. I would want to learn more about how the data such as private consumption is calculated that would then be used to calculate the GDP in America for a given year. My last topic was on inflation and although I didn’t have as much trouble with the topic and finding the right data and calculations, I found news stories all about how the pandemic has affected the inflation rate and how it affects the food industry. I learned the biggest price jump was in food products such as meat and eggs. The index for beef prices jumped to 10.8% and I find it quite interesting how the food industry was highly affected. I would just want to deepen my knowledge of how inflation is controlled at times when it is really high.

  2. For our portfolio we talked about Interest and the Fed, Labor and Unemployment, GDP and Growth, and Inflation and Prices. For each category we listed 2 stories with a summery, 4-7 additional articles that the viewer can read if they wanted to know more about the given topic, 2-3calculations per topic, and a short summary explaining the topic. I feel like the hardest part for me was trying to find sites that have data that we can use to show our calculations because while sites like Fred have graphs and data, they don’t show what they used to find their data. For example, they have a graph for U-6 Unemployment, but they didn’t tell the data like part-time workers, marginally attached workers, and discouraged workers on their site anywhere and so trying to show how they got to their answer for the calculation was hard. One thing that really made me frightened was how fast the unemployment rate could go from being at an all time low to an all time high and it really made me realize how quickly life can change and that nothing is guaranteed. I had never really thought about it before but our whole economy is so fragile and can change in the span of a day, but it takes months, if not years to fix. I would love to know what could be done to increase the speed in which unemployment will drop or whether or not there is anything that could make a difference.

    1. For our portfolio we talked about Interest and the Fed, Labor and Unemployment, GDP and Growth, and Inflation and Prices. For each category we listed 2 stories with a summery, 4-7 additional articles that the viewer can read if they wanted to know more about the given topic, 2-3calculations per topic, and a short summary explaining the topic. I feel like the hardest part for me was trying to find sites that have data that we can use to show our calculations because while sites like Fred have graphs and data, they don’t show what they used to find their data. For example, they have a graph for U-6 Unemployment, but they didn’t tell the data like part-time workers, marginally attached workers, and discouraged workers on their site anywhere and so trying to show how they got to their answer for the calculation was hard. One thing that really made me frightened was how fast the unemployment rate could go from being at an all time low to an all time high and it really made me realize how quickly life can change and that nothing is guaranteed. I had never really thought about it before but our whole economy is so fragile and can change in the span of a day, but it takes months, if not years to fix. I would love to know what could be done to increase the speed in which unemployment will drop or whether or not there is anything that could make a difference. I think the part of this assignment I think could be improved is making the rules on finding data more relaxed. I say this because many of the data points that we had to find were not openly available which made it much harder than it should be.

      For interest and the fed we talk about how real Interest rates measure the percent increase in purchasing power the lender receives when the borrower repays the loan with the interests well as what happens when interest rates are low or high. For our two main news stories we chose one about how you can use interest rates to save money as well as the five ways that the fed’s interest rate decisions impact people. We then went further into depth on what each article talks about. For the calculations we showed how to calculate the amount of time that it takes for an investment to double by showing how the rule of 72 works. We also showed how to find the real interest rate as well as how to find the nominal interest rates. We tried to be as thorough as possible and added links to all the places that we got our data.

      For labor and unemployment we talked about the different ways to calculate unemployment rate (both U-3 and U-6) and what each means. For our first news story we chose to pick one about how the unemployment rate has fallen to 13.3% in May. We thought this was a good story to pick because with COVID-19 still thriving, unemployment rates have been seriously impacted. I wrote about this above but this is the article that made me do more research into the topic because I thought it was very scary to see just how fast unemployment rate can skyrocket and it was worrisome to see how long it takes to fix this. The second article we chose was about how economists are expecting the Unemployment rate to take a long time to decrease. This again was chosen because it was so important and relevant with COVID-19 still taking a huge toll on society. For our calculations we chose to talk about how you find both the U-3 and U-6 unemployment rate as well as go slightly into why the equation is written how it is. Because the U-6 unemployment rate has so many data points that you need to find (part-time workers, marginally attached workers, and discouraged workers) that were not available online, we created our own scenario because we felt that this was still a very important calculation to explain.

      For GDP and Growth we talked about what GDP is and why it is important. For our stories we chose the first one about how the recovery of the economy is expected to be very slow. We chose this again because this is another factor that is being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and we wanted to show just how much it is impacting GDP. For the second story we picked one that is slightly more vague in that it is talking about the top 5 recoveries that we have had in the past. We chose this because hopefully our economy will follow one of these patterns when we do start to pick back up in growth. For our calculations we chose to explain how to find the GDP as well as how to find the rate of change/percent change. For many of the Fred graphs, they show the data from 4 points in the years and so for many of our graphs that we have used we changed the layout of the graph so that it shows 1 data point each year by taking the average of all the data points.

      Finally, for inflation and prices we explained what inflation is and how a low and high inflation rate can impact our society/economy. For our first story we picked one about how prices keep falling even though the economy is reopening because it is, again, very relevant with the COVID-19 pandemic still impacting the economy. While it doesn’t have to do with the U.S, our second story is about how the canadian dollar has dipped as a result of inflation. While this isn’t happening in the U.S. we still felt that it was a great way to show how inflation works and impacts us. For our first calculation we chose to explain how you calculate the inflation rate as well as explain what the inflation rate means. The second calculation was finding the consumer price index.

  3. For someone who is not all that in tune with the economic side of the United States, this project was extremely eye-opening. The aspect of this project that surprised me the most was the difference in the unemployment rates between the United States and Japan. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and the U.S.’ unemployment rate went up, I expected every other country to have similar numbers but an article I found in the New York Times proved me wrong. Japan’s unemployment rate rose but only by two-tenths of a percent to 2.6%. This article spoke about how Japanese employers care far more about their employees rather than the wants of the stakeholders. A comparison was made that when the economy declines then the unemployment rate automatically shoots up because people are laid off, but Japanese employers take into account the psychological and practical difficulties that come with laying someone off. I was amazed by this because in the U.S., companies are so quick to lay people off when business becomes hard. In my opinio, COVID-19 provided the hardest of times for everyone. As I read further into the article, I found that the way they could provide this job security was due to the rough and high expectations of Japanese employees. The employees are asked to work excruciatingly long hours but in return, they receive job security.

    After reading I thought about which side of the world, the United States or Japan, have a better handle on the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of jobs and unemployment. On one end, the U.S. has an astronomically high unemployment rate, but is taking non-essential individuals out of work for their safety. The U.S. government is sending stimulus packages in order to support citizens that fall into a certain criteria, and allow for a higher rate of unemployment payout. Then on the other side, Japan’s unemployment rate has barely risen due to the importance of their employee’s stability and interests. However, is it worth putting their employees at a higher risk of catching the virus?

  4. The ideas we picked GDP, inflation, interest rates, and unemployment. GDP is gross domestic product which is a measure of the market value of all final goods and services in a specific time period. In our project, the article we found showed how GDP was in the negatives for the first quarter of the year because of the coronavirus pandemic because of the change in demand. The pandemic caused a lot of unemployment which would push GDP down. It makes sense that when people have less to spend or items are limited, the demand will do down leaving producers to decrease their prices to where more people would be willing to buy their products. I find this really interesting because I kind of see it has a give in take. With change in demand, price will have to change to there the consumer is willing to buy the product. But the producers are also losing revenue because they are lowering prices to get people to buy their products. They see it as it is better for people to buy their products at a lower price rather than them not buying them at all. But because of lower prices, that causes GDP to decrease and in the case of the first quarter, into the negatives. My question is, how do you find that “balance”, of where the producers are making enough money but low enough to were consumers are willing to buy the product? Then what else do it effect? Would having less revenue cause layoffs for that company and then more people would be unemployed? How would it reverse?
    Inflation is the increase of prices in goods overtime. We found that there is disinflation since the beginning of the pandemic. This makes sense referring back to GDP and unemployment because since prices are lowering, it is the opposite of inflation. Inflation would more likely occur when people have a job and money to spend. The more money people are willing to spend or invest the higher the prices can go. With disinflation, it has me thinking whether people value money more in a disinflation then when they have more money to spend. That concept is a little confusing to me. Of how you are paying more when their is inflation but in disinflation you are paying less for the say products. Wouldn’t money technology be valued the same?
    Interest rates are the amount received per dollar loaned per year. The lower the interest rate the less you have to pay on your loan in the long run compared to a higher interest rate. The article we found was reporting how the FED was planning to keep near zero interest rates for a long time to help raise GDP. With low interest rates, people will be encouraged to interest their money which will then circulate and feed the economy. I actually asked my mom about this because she was talking about how she was going to refinance our mortgage to get better interest rates. She explained that since a lot of people are now buying houses outside of the New York City, That the value of houses are raising and the interest rates are lowering. This way our interest rates will be lowered with the economy. The demand for houses are high leaving interest rates low for that product. This will be really useful in the future of when I someday buy a house or invest to help make smarter decisions.
    Unemployment is a percentage of the labor force who do not have a job but are currently looking for a job. The unemployment rate since the pandemic has raised by a lot. Since companies can not afford their employees with less revenue coming in, the more people that got laid off. The current unemployment rate is 13.3%. What I found really interesting is how interest rates can help decrease unemployment in the long run. If more people invest their money, the more money in the economy, which means more money for companies to spend which can lead to employing more people which will lead to a decrease in unemployment. I find it really interesting how these four topic inlock and effect each other. They are all connected and be used to change the economy.

  5. The 4 topics we chose were; Labor and Unemployment, Inflation and Prices, Debt V. Deficit, and Interest Rates and the FED.
    While creating the slides for unemployment, I found a lot of things I did not know or understand. The whole idea of unemployment is finding the percentage of the population who is not actively looking for a job or already has one. But the concept is deeper than that, there are many factors in life that can change day to day on their employment status. This completely changed the way I look into how the United States tracks unemployment. I never really understood why people who were considered, “unemployed,” would get paid by the government. But after doing this I understand that it’s problematic for people who just got laid off or people who have given up hope on finding another source of income for their family. During the COVID-19 pandemic, I believe unemployment is one of the United States’ biggest concerns. This problem is out of workers’ control and has made the unemployment numbers rapidly increase. In the future, especially someone who wants to be in the business world. Learning about GDP is one of the most important things. Understanding the economy when it’s in a recession or expansion will help all businesses.
    When doing the research behind interest rates I really understood how most of it worked. Out of all 8 topics, I believe interest rates are the most important all-around topic everyone should understand. You deal with interest rates on almost everything. Interest rates are percentages added on borrowed money based on how long it’ll take someone to pay them back. One part of the interest rates that I found interesting, but challenging is mortgage rates. They are very important considering everyone needs a place to live with a mortgage. But understanding them is very different from the others to me.
    Learning about Debt and Deficit and the differences between them really helped us learn more about the economy we live in today and how the government is actually using our money. The government recently borrowed three trillion dollars from the months April to June to help spike the economy and make sure we did not fall into a depression during this COVID-19 era. Debt versus Deficit really makes you wonder about the major decisions being made every day and how much thought is going into them. Learning how to properly calculate your debt is way deeper than looking at the money you owe. Having a proper budget and using that to operate a company and understand how much/ when to borrow money can be essential to business. The one thing that I always knew about but I never really understood was, how does the government borrow this much money? And how do they plan on paying it back?
    After going into a deep analysis of how inflation and prices correlate to the economy, I strongly learned trends seen throughout the years and expert’s thoughts on the future to come. I gained a stronger understanding of how to find the inflation rate and the method to do so. Learning the basis behind inflation can lead to better business decisions for companies and also personally. Understanding helps to make decisions on pricing or as seen in the article mentioned how to price houses in the future relating to supply, demand, and the given economy status at the time.

  6. The 4 topics we chose were; Labor and Unemployment, Inflation and Prices, Debt V. Deficit, and Interest Rates and the FED.
    While creating the slides for unemployment, I found a lot of things I did not know or understand. The whole idea of unemployment is finding the percentage of the population who is not actively looking for a job or already has one. But the concept is deeper than that, there are many factors in life that can change day to day on their employment status. This completely changed the way I look into how the United States tracks unemployment. I never really understood why people who were considered, “unemployed,” would get paid by the government. But after doing this I understand that it’s problematic for people who just got laid off or people who have given up hope on finding another source of income for their family. During the COVID-19 pandemic, I believe unemployment is one of the United States’ biggest concerns. This problem is out of workers’ control and has made the unemployment numbers rapidly increase. In the future, especially someone who wants to be in the business world. Learning about GDP is one of the most important things. Understanding the economy when it’s in a recession or expansion will help all businesses.
    When doing the research behind interest rates I really understood how most of it worked. Out of all 8 topics, I believe interest rates are the most important all-around topic everyone should understand. You deal with interest rates on almost everything. Interest rates are percentages added on borrowed money based on how long it’ll take someone to pay them back. One part of the interest rates that I found interesting, but challenging is mortgage rates. They are very important considering everyone needs a place to live with a mortgage. But understanding them is very different from the others to me.
    Learning about Debt and Deficit and the differences between them really helped us learn more about the economy we live in today and how the government is actually using our money. The government recently borrowed three trillion dollars from the months April to June to help spike the economy and make sure we did not fall into a depression during this COVID-19 era. Debt versus Deficit really makes you wonder about the major decisions being made every day and how much thought is going into them. Learning how to properly calculate your debt is way deeper than looking at the money you owe. Having a proper budget and using that to operate a company and understand how much/ when to borrow money can be essential to business. The one thing that I always knew about but I never really understood was, how does the government borrow this much money? And how do they plan on paying it back?
    After going into a deep analysis of how inflation and prices correlate to the economy, I strongly learned trends seen throughout the years and expert’s thoughts on the future to come. I gained a stronger understanding of how to find the inflation rate and the method to do so. Learning the basis behind inflation can lead to better business decisions for companies and also personally. Understanding helps to make decisions on pricing or as seen in the article mentioned how to price houses in the future relating to supply, demand, and the given economy status at the time.

  7. When creating my website, I focused on unemployment, inflation, business cycles, and inequality. One big theme that kept repeating was how COVID-19 affected all of these aspects dramatically. I already knew about the recession, especially from talking about it in class, but it was interesting to look at how it is impacting us with different data sets. Looking into inequality, I came across an article about India that I used in my project. I was surprised that India’s income inequality actually became worse from this pandemic. Those who were better off had the resources to make it possible to social distance, while those living in poverty could not. I never really thought about that, but my research brought it to my attention. Inequality is a really big issue in a lot of countries, but I feel like it is not talked about in the news. Learning about other countries compared to ours changes my perspective on things. Thankfully, I have grown up in an area where poverty was not prevalent, so I was not super exposed to it as a child. If I were to research any further after this project, I would look more deeply into inequality because this project sparked an interest with that idea. I find that knowledge is extremely powerful when it comes to reform, so maybe I could help in some way. Overall, I enjoyed this project because it gave me a chance to apply my learning from class to the real world.

  8. Article 1-
    Description: During the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. consumer price index fell for the third month in a row in May. The CPI fell 0.1% in May while it dropped 0.8% in April. This is the largest drop since the 2008 recession. The National Bureau of Economic Research reported that the economy began to fall in February and that the closure of many businesses due to the pandemic which caused consumers to spend less money.
    Analysis: With this being the first recession that I am actually old enough to understand, I actually have learned a lot. All I knew was that COVID-19 had negatively impacted the economy, but that was the extent of my knowledge. With the combination of business closures, people losing jobs, and the fear of being at public venues and in crowds has caused the public to spend less money, in turn decreasing the CPI. I have been lucky enough to have one of my two jobs still fully functioning in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, but I have certainly spent less money since restrictions were in place (not going to restaurants or malls). However, I believe that as restrictions continuing to be less strict, and as life begins to return to “normal”, people will begin spending more money, increasing the CPI.
    Outcomes: For the future, I think this is information I need to understand to know when to save/spend my money, especially during a recession. Being a college student, I think it is a little easier to not pay attention to these things in detail as many of us still rely on our parents financially.

    Article 2-
    Description: April was a very rough time for job holders as the unemployment rate skyrocketed to 14.7% in April, decreasing to 13.3% in May (which is still extremely high). Most of those who became unemployed lost their jobs due to COVID-19 and its effects on business operations. However, the article reported that many of those who are unemployed will become rehired soon as businesses begin to reopen. The 14.7% unemployment rate in April is the highest the U.S. has seen since the Great Depression.
    Analysis: When actually seeing the number of people unemployed instead of just a rate, especially when compared to the numbers before the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the economy, the number is extremely alarming. I think the idea of the economy being impacted the way that it has been due to COVID-19 is really interesting as I don’t think many people expected to be impacted on the level they were.
    Outcomes: A question I have is how long does it take people to enter back into the workforce in cases of a global pandemic and do those who became unemployed return to the same job or find a new one? Not only are we in a recession, but living our lives by limiting the number of people who can be in a room at once. If we ever return to our “pre-COVID-19 normal”, will people begin working as normal? The question of unemployment is something I think everyone, especially college students, need to understand. I really could have used internships this summer and will be entering the workforce next year and the risk of not being able to find a job, or get laid off, is a scary idea.

    Article 3-
    Description: GDP has decreased since the last quarter due to the impact COVID-19 has had on businesses and consumers. GDP was predicted to decrease by 3.9% in the first quarter. The state of the U.S.’s economic growth has had the great shrinkage since the Great Depression. Consumers have spent less money due to fear of being in a recession and business investments have became weaker.
    Analysis: I think that GDP decreasing with the COVID-19 pandemic certainly makes sense. Consumers are either unemployed and struggling with not having a stable income and/or people started saving money due to uncertain financial times. With people not being able to invest in businesses and/or consume goods and pay for services, GDP would obviously decrease.
    Outcomes: I think that being able to see how this pandemic has impacted people and their incomes, it is important for me to understand it now so that I can have the knowledge to know how to prepare in case of another global pandemic or recession when I am in the workforce.

    Article 4-
    Description: The comparison between supply and demand is very evident in the case of oil prices. Oil price changes can severely impact the economy (in a good or bad way). Due to supply and demand, changes in production and consumption of oil directly impacts the price of oil. The population’s collective consumption, or demand, for oil have a dramatic influence on the prices set.
    Analysis: I knew oil was a powerhouse, but I did not realize exactly how much of a powerhouse the supply and demand of oil is. I also did not know that there was a difference in oil production and oil reserves. I found it interesting how different countries lead in oil depending on if it is oil production or oil reserves.
    Outcomes: I still don’t have a deep insight in oil production and my question is how COVID-19 has impacted oil. Gas prices have been fairly low during the pandemic, but what is the reason for that? With the law of supply and demand, I would assume it is because supply was high. However, in a time where people were being forced out of work and not traveling as much, would demand be low?

  9. I focused on unemployment. which is something very relevant due to the coronavirus. Unemployment I believe everyone has very surface level knowledge on but once started to read and take notes on the topic I learned it was much more than that. The different types of unemployment are very interesting to me due to how specific they are . Which does make sense because the government doesn’t want to be giving away money to just anyone, even though they seem to be doing that now. I was most interested in was the labor force, which seems to go hand in hand with unemployment. It is a very basic term to understand but when dealing with calculating the unemployment rate it plays a key role in being the dividing number. Which is very interesting because the labor force is made up of unemployed and employed people over the age of 16. This is interesting to me because it really is just then the population of 16 years or older instead of the employed. I definitely found it hard to find articles that went with my topics with appropriate calculations. I then even struggled to apply the formulas to the articles on unemployment because they seem to leave out crucial numbers to plug into each equation. I was struggling to find a total number of labor force or even the unemployment not being already compared to another time of unemployment increasing. I learned more about this topic but also it affirmed what already knew about the topic. I have been working since the age of 16 so yes now I find it interesting to be living on the unemployed side by circustance and learning about it as I am living through it. To be more versed in the unemployment conversation would be curious to look at comparisons between gender and race, because more articles seemed to highlight the either increase or decrease in unemployment. Growing up I was always told that the higher the education you have the more likely it is to get a job but I would be curious to see what a comparison between the two would look like, is it really that difficult to get a job if you have an associates compared to a bachelors? I will apply these ideas to my future by being less ignorant to the importance to paying attention to unemployment rates and how they do negatively effect the economy. I feel silly having to say that now but I feel like it is an appropriate time to start paying attention due to the fact that in the next 3 years I will be graduating and will be in the work field, and I will need to know if I am coming out of school with little to no opportunities.

  10. For our portfolio project we focused on GDP, interest rates, labor and unemployment, and debt vs deficit. With the way our current world situation is set up, Coronavirus tends to be the leading topic behind each concept. Currently with the Coronavirus, the GDP and interest rates have been decreasing while labor and unemployment and debt vs deficit has been increasing rapidly. Im not necessarily surprised in this as these topics make our world go round. If people don’t have jobs then they can’t spend a lot of money on goods and the government has to regulate the interest rates to keep things in check, all of this can be a direct impact on why the debt in the United States keeps increasing. This project has been eye opening on the current economic situation that we are currently going thru, while I knew the virus had effected the economy I didn’t think it had effected it as much as it has. It is also interesting to see the trends that are happening due to the virus and the effects it has caused. From this project I have been able to see the plans for what is being done overtime in hopes of helping our economy for the future. Doing this project has made me want to look more in-depth in other countries numbers to see how they have also been effected by the virus. It would be interesting to compare similar numbers of the United States and another country and follow how each country revives itself economically in all of the topics we have chosen for the project.

  11. Throughout this project, I kept thinking of what the world is going to look like in the coming years with the COVID-19 pandemic. With many businesses already having faced massive losses, how long will it take these firms to recover? Will they be able to recover? What do these losses mean for the economy as a whole? Looking at past data from the Great Recession, unemployment filings are already more than double that of the worst week from then. What does this mean for new and soon to be college graduates? What sort of programs and policies from past crises can we use as a guide for this pandemic? With the Fed already setting its interest rate to 0 and unemployment already skyrocketed, what are the next steps? The Federal Reserve president Jerome Powell urges the government not to pull support too quickly even though the number of people working is rising again. While it would be difficult to do, could there be free financial education courses offered to those who have been hit hardest? Like we had briefly discussed in class, a stimulus bill can work but if people don’t know how to save or use that new income they can be taken advantage of. While social distancing is still the norm, is there a way to offer this sort of class outside of a virtual one?

  12. For this particular project, I covered GDP, unemployment, inflation, and interest rates. I chose these four topics particularly because I felt very comfortable explaining some, while others were more complex to me. For me, this project was about creating a balance of topics I was familiar with and also getting outside of my comfort zone and trying to explain new content.
    Gross domestic product is a topic I had never been taught. To me, it was definitely one of the more complex ideas to wrap my head around. In order to fully grasp the concept, I re-read the corresponding sections in the textbook and then read 3-4 articles regarding GDP in our current economic situation so that I could get some perspective on how the term and measurements are used. By listening and reading to some relevant new stories, I was able to really see how GDP is used to really gauge how our economy is doing as a whole. By doing this I was also able to see how the prices of products and services really drive our economic outcome for any given month or year. I could see how a measurement like GDP can be used as a comparison tool to compare multiple states or counties when looking at overall economic growth or decline, even though I could be completely wrong about that. When I think about GDP, I think about the economy as a whole versus specifics.
    Unemployment is a topic I consider myself well versed in. After being furloughed from my part-time job in March, I had quite a few interactions with the Unemployment Commission in VA, so I had some type of a foundation behind the topic. For me, the most complex part of unemployment is some of the calculations and understanding the difference between things like the labor force and working population. I will say for me personally it took a lot of trial and error to understand each individual formula. Personally, I believe it’s important for us to keep track of measurements like unemployment so we really have a handle on the job market in America.
    The next topic I covered was inflation. Before, I had a pretty baseline understanding of what interest was and how it played a role in the economy. I think that inflation is another good comparison tool to use when comparing the price of specific products through time. It could be used to look at our economic strength over time. I also think inflation can really change how and what people spend their money on. One of my biggest questions I have when it comes to inflation is, what is the baseline price of each product? I understand that the inflation rate controls the price of items, but in order for that percentage to grow or drop, how do we determine the true price of an item?
    The final topic that I covered was interest rates. Like inflation, I had a very baseline understanding of interest rates, especially when it comes to things like mortgages, savings accounts, and loans. Personally, I’ve never dealt with fluctuating interest rates so it was interesting to learn about. Overall, I felt fairly confident in the topic, but still don’t completely understand what causes interest rates to fluctuate and what circumstances non-fixed interest rates are used for. This is definitely a topic I plan on reviewing once again so I can fully understand the concept more in depth.

  13. My reflection to the previous article is focusing on GDP. South Africa is facing a huge level of debt in relation with their GDP. South Africa’s debt levels is predicted to rise up to 114% of GDP by 2025; this is very bad for South Africa as it faces to try using a 500 billion dollar rand rescue package. What I found interesting about their levels is that the level of difference their economists had between their predicted debt levels for the next few years. In February 2020, the economists predicted the debt levels to increase up to 78%; however, when revisiting those predictions in June 2020, they were realizing that the predicted levels could peak at 114% by 2029. I’ve learned that GDP is very closely related to the level of production and resources used in a country and I have concluded that South Africa is struggling with finding resources, creating prosperous amounts of products, and not as interactive towards other countries or consumers when they need to sell their products to make a profit. I believe that this is the main reason to why the GDP debt levels are this high, and if South Africa doesn’t take advantage of the 500 billion dollar rand rescue package, they can be facing some difficult times in both the 20s and the 30s.
    This article by Visual Capitalist that obtains their information from the Federal Reserve focuses on the inequality between races in America regarding their annual income and their net worth. The difference between Whites and Blacks regarding annual income is drastic. White people average an annual income of $61k and earns as much as $123k. Black people average an annual income of $35k and earns as much as $54k. I find this very upsetting especially in the times that we are living in now. Black people have earned much less than white people and the level of inequality shows. White people earn 73 percent more on their annual income rather than Black people. The communities that black people live in are very sad to see, and the pains that Black people are going through in the country is not fair at all. We all should be treated equal as citizens and as human beings. Furthermore, other races too aren’t making as much as White people, and there has to be a change in annual income so that the opportunity is given to all races. By doing this, we can help erase the line of inequality in our country.
    From the source, the Federal Reserve Economic Data, our unemployment rate is at an all time high. We have been on a downward trend for our unemployment rate since 2011 but ever since 2020 hit, we have been at a whopping 14 percent. They found out their unemployment rate by gathering up the number of unemployed workers in the labor force and dividing it by all of the labor force itself. After getting that decimal number, they multiply it by 100 and got the number 13.7, rounded to 14. I think the reason why our unemployment rate is so high is because of the ongoing pandemic. This pandemic (COVID-19) cause lots of businesses to shut down due to how fast the disease spreads, and because of that, the number of workers started to decrease because there is no business to run. Furthermore; because of the lack of workers, we have no steady profit revenue to drive out from businesses and out unemployment rate is increasing; nevertheless, I believe we can recover once the pandemic goes away and we resume our businesses and they start to open back up and hire employees to run the business.

  14. The topic I focused on in the power point was unemployment. In my slides, I discussed and showed how to calculate the unemployment rate. I noticed that in comparison to the beginning of the year, May 2020’s unemployment rate increase greatly. We have heard it on the news about how the pandemic is affecting the country the global economy, but this was very eye opening. I found the size of the labor force very interesting see that it is over 150 million. Before I wasn’t to sure on how the pandemic was affecting the numbers of unemployment because it did not affect my family directly, but now I see how vastly it affected the country. Even the other topics my group went over including inflation, GDP, and interest rates; they all had sources that we had found about how COVID-19 affected nationwide statistics. Our economy, pre-covid, was doing extremely well with a low unemployment rate. I never realized how quickly that could change with one event. I like the way Abby put it in her reflection, and how the economy is fragile. further on now that we have finished the project I am interested in following the sources we used to see, as the pandemic plays out, how the economy will continue to alter.

  15. I found this project to be useful in giving me an understanding of the class material, and in beginning to answer some of my questions I hoped to get answered through this class. My most profound realizations were relating to the interconnectedness of the topics covered. I was always interested in learning about how the economy stays functioning with its many parts and challenges. Seeing how some of the topics are integral to understanding one another began to show me how the economy is like a working machine with moving parts. For instance, GDP is significant not on its own as a single value, but through comparing it to previous GDP values, and its rate of change, and in what direction. This is the very essence of business cycles. Business cycles cannot be explained without GDP, because they are represented by GDP. The same applies to CPI. CPI’s trends determine inflation rates and their direction, and inflation determines how the economy and the government reacts. If the government increases spending, say, during a recession, it may need to borrow that money to spend, increasing its debt, and increasing its deficit assuming it has already spent more than it has made in tax revenue.

    I have come up with a brief example connecting all four of the topics I covered. Real GDP reveals business cycles, which identify recessions, which imply deflation and increased deficit & debt. There are more things that can be connected to a recession as well, like increased interest rates, decreased money supply, and thus decreased aggregate demand, (these are responses to inflation, but inflation often decreases during recessions). I love the analogy of elements of the economy as cogs within a machine. As one cog spins, so does another. In a well-oiled, functioning machine, no one cog tries to spin too fast. If one cog spins out of control, it could push the others to the limit, risking a failure of other cogs or exhaustion of the whole system. If one central cog slows down and stops, all the others may slow and stop as well, and it may take a lot of effort to get the machine going again.

    In this sense, I have begun to see the world’s economy as an interconnected machine as well. For example, countries rely on other countries for loans, just as banks, households and firms do. Countries trade with each other and purchase from each other, just as households and firms do. If one country stops producing, then all the other countries that bought from it suffer, and the country that stopped producing stops gaining revenue from their sales. Not all countries are connected, but the ones that are connected rely on each other.

    I am still left wondering a few things after learning more about my topics:

    How does the US government plan to repay its debt? Does it ever plan to repay its debt, or a significant portion of it? The national debt has decreased few times compared to those it has grown and hasn’t decreased by very much each time it did see any decrease.

    How much inflation is too much for the US? Will we reach a point where we need to seriously deflate, or are we always safe so long as the rate of inflation is stable?

    What long-run implications could the COVID crisis hold?
    I suppose it is hard to know because we only have limited data in the short-run so far, and we don’t know exactly how and when society will come to terms with the virus.

  16. Upon reflecting on this project as a whole, it definitely opened my eyes to a good amount of economic terminology and ideas. As the business cycle is interesting, I never even thought before about it being a thing and being so relevant. Yet the business cycle revolves around everything, GDP, unemployment, just the economy as a whole. It had me look into many graphs and analyze the numbers and understand more thoroughly, the great depression, and the current state we are in right now with COVID-19. How it is destroying a continuous upward growth in GDP and continuous downward decline in unemployment and making both go in the opposite, non-beneficial direction. In addition, I found out that there were much more time periods that are named such as the great moderation that had a big impact. Before I was tunnel-sighted that the Great Depression was the only recession. Another thing that I learned that impacted my thinking was the Great Inflation, where I found out that it led to many new economic policies. Inflation rates I have found are really well represented with gas prices, as they are constantly going up and down riding with supply and demand. Furthermore, with unemployment and the labor force, to be honest, I didn’t even know that to be counted as unemployed, you had to be looking for a job actively. I thought beforehand, that it was just every single unemployed person above 16 years old. I would always hear around at work about how people have been getting laid-off and had to file for unemployment. Which I find interesting, as the following week (this week) I learned all about what it means to be unemployed and how my life experiences of what is happening in the workplace around me related to this class so accurately. Only now I have a greater understanding of why and how frequently it is happening not just around me but in the entire nation. During this project, I also looked into interest rates quite a bit, and how it affects college students loans so drastically. Unpaid student loans can really stack up to be quite a substantial cost as the years go on. In conclusion, this project opened my eyes to many economic, real-world issues and I feel more literate in the financial part of my life, as well as general knowledge on how the economy affects everybody’s everyday life, as well as everybody’s future life.

  17. Christopher Fontana
    ECON200
    Reflection
    Our group decided to pick Labor and Unemployment, Inflation and Prices, Debt V. Deficit, and Interest Rates and the FED and going into a deeper analysis about each one.
    After reviewing the slides for unemployment, I found a lot of things I did not know but continued to learn more about the topic at hand. When learning about unemployment it is important to look at the percentage of the population who is not actively looking for a job or already has one because these are key determinants of unemployment. Another interesting thing I realized after learning about unemployment is that it can change daily especially during the COVID-19 era we are in now. Unemployment is destroying families across the country but the government is paying these families back and is helping get through these hard times. 40 million US citizens have filed for unemployment during this crisis and the number continues to rise. The government helping unemployed citizens across the US will keep the economy flowing how it was months ago. My family personally owns a business and they have seen the dark sides of the pandemic on a financial standpoint. My father as a business owner had to lay off his own workers during this time and take the risks of having a business. I think it is key to understand the in and outs of the economy especially during a recession so if history repeats itself you will be ready for the future.
    Interest rates are also a major part of the economy especially when borrowing money and also lending. After learning interest rates and learning the deeper prices involved between them finding a deeper understanding can save you a lot of money or even make you money in the long run. In general interest rates are basically percentages added on borrowed money based on how long it’ll take someone to pay them back. A major scenery for interest rates are mortgage rates and if not looked at closely can take a major toll on your bank account. After reviewing interest rates I learned the major factors involved and how important it is to look at each one deeply.
    Learning about Debt and Deficit and the differences between them really helped us learn more about the economy we live in today and how the government is actually using our money. The government recently borrowed three trillion dollars from the months April to June to help spike the economy and make sure we did not fall into a depression during this COVID-19 era. Debt versus Deficit really makes you wonder about the major decisions being made every day and how much thought is going into them. Learning how to properly calculate your debt is way deeper than looking at the money you owe. Having a proper budget and using that to operate a company and understand how much/ when to borrow money can be essential to business. The one thing that I always knew about but I never really understood was, how does the government borrow this much money? And how do they plan on paying it back?
    After going into a deep analysis of how inflation and prices correlate to the economy, I strongly learned trends seen throughout the years and expert’s thoughts on the future to come. I gained a stronger understanding of how to find the inflation rate and the method to do so. Learning the basis behind inflation can lead to better business decisions for companies and also personally. Understanding helps to make decisions on pricing or as seen in the article mentioned how to price houses in the future relating to supply, demand, and the given economy status at the time.

  18. While creating the slides for unemployment, I found a lot of things I did not know or understand. The whole idea of unemployment is finding the percentage of the population who is not actively looking for a job or already has one. But the concept is deeper than that, there are many factors in life that can change day to day on their employment status. This completely changed the way I look into how the United States tracks unemployment. I never really understood why people who were considered, “unemployed,” would get paid by the government. But after doing this I understand that it’s problematic for people who just got laid off or people who have given up hope on finding another source of income for their family. During the COVID-19 pandemic, I believe unemployment is one of the United States’ biggest concerns. This problem is out of workers’ control and has made the unemployment numbers rapidly increase. In the future, especially someone who wants to be in the business world. Learning about GDP is one of the most important things. Understanding the economy when it’s in a recession or expansion will help all businesses.
    When doing the research behind interest rates I really understood how most of it worked. As I was doing research, the part that caught my eye the most was how interest rates and credit cards work together. I never knew how banks made their money. But after learning more about interest rates, all of their profit comes from interest rates. Interest rates are percentages added on borrowed money based on how long it’ll take someone to pay them back. But interest rates affect any expensive purchase or borrow. Mortgage rates are a huge part of interest rates but I never knew how they worked. I am still very confused on this subject but I think it is very important for everyone to know. I had an idea of what interest rates were, but I had no idea what the FED was, or how it connected to interest rates. The FED controls the interest rates for America. They control how high or low the rates are based on how much Americans are spending. Interest Rates are going to be a part of everyone’s daily life at some point in their life. Knowing the interest rates can be very essential to saving money and making smart decisions on when to buy certain things.
    I’ve always understood what the terms debt and deficit meant. Debt is when you borrow something and need to repay it. Deficit is when you exceed the amount spent on something. These go hand and hand in our government. I never really looked at the deficit side of the government’s budget. But I’ve always known about the government’s trillions of debt to other countries. Learning about debt v. deficit really made me have a lot of questions. How will the government pay back these debts without inflation? I find it very interesting to learn how the government spends their money. I find it shocking that they spend all their money and still are trillions in debt when they’re people in their country that are in need. But debt v. deficit also goes into a more personal level. Managing money, importance of purchases, or properly using credit cards are key information everyone should know to keep them out of debt. Having a proper budget and using that to operate a company and understand how much/ when to borrow money can be essential to business.
    After going into a deep analysis of how inflation and prices correlate to the economy, I strongly learned trends seen throughout the years and expert’s thoughts on the future to come. I always understood the context of inflation, but I never understood why it was so important to keep control over. Inflation is commonly defined as common price levels rising in an economy. But they’re many reasons why the government needs to keep track of the inflation rate. If inflation gets out of control, money starts to mean less to people. Allowing the rich to stay rich and the poor to get more poor. Inflation is connected to every other topic and adjusts to what’s going on in the world. The COVID- 19 pandemic is the most current example. Since the pandemic, there has been a disinflation since people are not spending as much and millions are out of jobs.

  19. This project really allowed me to reflect on how the topics of GDP, Supply and Demand, Inflation and Unemployment are connected in my life. The GDP has been the lowest since the Great depression, inflation is as high as 2008, and unemployment is at an all time low. The recession we are in currently makes it clear how these concepts work. One of the articles we chose to read was about oil’s supply and demand, and I never put all the pieces together before reading. The important aspect is that everything in the world changes prices. Political crises and terrorist attacks not only in the United States but around the world influence our supply of oil which changes the demand of its worth. I work at a restaurant right now and was unemployed during this quarantine. I chose to save my money vs spending which after reading I realized may not have been the way I should have dealt with the stimulus. When so many did what I did it made the GDP negative. Inflation is so high from the money being sent out to keep not only business open but to allow people to pay for rent and groceries. The reason we were sent so much money was to fuel the economy when business and demand is so low. The store I work at was doing weekly sales at 100,000 dollars and going to to-go changed it to 27,000 dollars. When does a business owner decide it is worth keeping afloat, vs closing for this period. Would your business even be able to reopen with the cost of a building or supplies. Knowing that we are currently going through a period that we only learn about in textbooks, especially at a time we can truly understand the consequences is new. The piece that makes this situation particularly different is how we do not understand when the cause (the virus) will end, and how to fix it. My biggest question is how long will it take to be back to normal and go out of the “negatives”. I question if we will still have the repercussions when we go to retire and the damages it has done to the reserves. I think my choices in spending will change after realizing I have a part in the economy, and everyone cannot do what I did. The future may not seem as important now, but I do not want to regret how I spent money and my choices at 20 when I go to retire. I do not think it is smart to just go on a spending spree but there is smart decisions not only for me, but the workforce.

  20. For this portfolio project I covered the topics of Economic Fluctuations-Business Cycles, Inflation (or in the case of my article deflation), The Fed, and GDP/Growth Rate. I enjoyed this project as an opportunity to understand these topics further, especially regarding the current situation we are in with COVID-19. These articles also allowed me to form questions that I hope would be answered in upcoming reports/articles after this coronavirus pandemic is at an end.
    The aspects in the articles about the Business cycles during and projected after coronavirus interested me most. This is so because there were projections regarding the potential recovery after a coronavirus caused recession. These recovery plans represented new “shapes” of recovery that I do not believe we delved into in the book/lectures. There was mention of three shapes: V, U and L. Each came with their own graphs which represented the GDP level and GDP growth and how they were related. Of these the “V” was much more likely because other epidemics showed such shapes. So, I am curious if coronavirus will follow the same trend or it will have a different overall effect or if it will be similar to the past? In fact, it does seem like it would be given that there could be a recession followed by growth.
    One article featured a chart showing that there was a steady dip in the US home purchases from early March through May which now has made a sharp upturn through until now, June. After this upturn it showed that U.S. home purchases are up 13% from last year, even after experiencing such a drop in the economy. Just this one chart alone brings up questions of, what caused such a spike? Was it because of low interest rates? Or maybe it could even be beyond that as people needing to move because of loss of job, or was it just coincidence?
    Overall, this project ended up opening the doors to more questions after answering others, some of which may continue to be unanswered for many months or into 2021.

  21. Portfolio Reflection
    During this project I had the opportunity to gain knowledge about several different topics surrounding America’s economy. The main objective for this portfolio was to express your understanding of four different concepts surrounding the material in chapter three. I chose to discuss gross domestic product, unemployment, inflation,and interest rates. Through extensive research I was able to learn a great deal more than I had imagined. I would have done a few things differently if I could have time to start it over. For one, I would have signed up to be put into a group instead of doing this project by myself. Secondly, I would have started it sooner than I did to give myself plenty of time to go back and make changes before the deadline. Even though there are a few things I would change if I had the chance to, I am still very pleased with the outcome.
    While researching gross domestic product, or GDP, I discovered that there were countless different forms, yet they were all very closely related. Before starting this class and particularly this project, I had very minimal knowledge about GDP and how it worked. I very quickly learned that it was one of the biggest determining factors for how well a country’s economy was performing. A country’s overall gross domestic product is a direct correlation of how effective and stable the economy is.
    Unemployment rates in the United States has been a hot topic for the past several decades. It is one of the most talked about issues during the presidential elections and it is heavily covered by the news media. While researching the unemployment rates, I found that they have been decreasing in the past couple of years, excluding the current pandemic situation happening. Calculating unemployment rates is another strong indicator of how well an economy is performing.
    Inflation is an extremely vital part of any country’s economy. Inflation is the overall price level that consumers have to pay for goods and services. This means that the higher the overall price of products is, the less likely that consumers are going to make purchases and the economy will start to decline. On the other hand, the lower the inflation is, the more likely that consumers are willing to contribute to the economy and spend money. This concept is a constant teeter tot because the government still has to make a profit, but if consumers are not spending enough money then the government will have to increase the inflation rates.
    Interest rates are one of the most important factors for how banks make a profit. Banks apply interest rates to loans and certain accounts for customers and use that as an incentive. Adding interest rates on loans forces customers to pay back the money they owe in a timely manner. Interest rates on savings accounts provides an incentive for customers to give their money to a bank so they can lend it out to other customers and make money.

  22. The project really helped me understand four economic tops that I didn’t really have a good grasp on. The four topics that my group and I talked about in our project are Economic Fluctuations- Business Cycles, Labor and Unemployment, Inflation and Prices, and Interest Rates and The Fed. The topics that I worked on were Inflation and Prices and Interest Rates and The Fed. Before starting this project I really only had a basic knowledge of these four topics but after doing this project it really helped me realize how these four topics are closely related and are closely connected to our daily life. In terms fo unemployment just the other day I was telling my brother that he really need to find a job and get off the Xbox. The thing is he got laid off about 4 months ago due to the coronavirus. Then I realized as my group and I started the project that since my brother just recently got laid off, is over the age of 16, and is actively looking for a job then he can file for unemployment until he finds a new job. I didn’t realize how many people suffer from unemployment until I did this project but it was really eye-opening when I saw all the numbers. In these past 4-5 months, I feel that unemployment was the biggest concern for most people in the US because of COVID-19. When I was doing my research about interest rates it really helped me get a better grasp on the topic. While doing my research almost every article that I looked at would talk about how banks would make money off interest. Before doing this project I had absolutely no idea how banks made their money. Then I realized that an interest rate is a percentage that is added on top of a certain amount of money that someone borrows from the bank based on how long it will take that person to pay it all back. When choosing this topic is said Interest Rates and The Fed, I honestly had not a single clue what was meant by “The Fed” and how it was connected to interest rates. The Fed controls the interest rates in America and how high or low they are. Inflation was one topic that was kind of new to me but through my research and the lecture powerpoints, I was able to grasp an understanding of this topic. Inflation is the price rising in the economy. It is the government’s job to maintain the inflation rate. The reason the government maintains the inflation rate is that if it ends up getting out of hand then people won’t care about their money anymore and just do whatever they want with it. In the past four months, we have seen a disinflation due to COVID-19. The reason there has been a disinflation is that everything is shut down and there is a stay at home order in place so many people can’t go spend money on a shopping spree. Overall I really like this project because it helped me understand some of the topics we learn about in class. It also showed me how these topics are closely connected to my everyday life and how I will be or could be affected by any of these topics within the next few years.

  23. For my project, I chose to look at unemployment, the Fed, inflation ,and GDP. I do not have an economics oriented mind, especially when it comes to the macro level bu this project definitely helped me expand my knowledge and see some of the relationships across these topics. With the current pandemic, seeing and comparing unemployment rates and the inflation rate was very confusing for me upon first glance. However, digging into different articles from the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times provided some clarity. May’s unemployment rate was reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics at 13.3%. Interest rates set by the Fed have also dropped to be between 0-.25%. Before this project, I would just see these numbers and not even take a second to think about what they meant. Now, I have come to understand how they work “together” and the relationship between them. When unemployment is high like it is right now, a lot of people don’t have supplemental income to make purchases and expenditures outside of paying bills. This lack of spending hurts businesses which puts the stress of bankruptcy on owners minds. In order to try and encourage buyers, businesses lower their prices, this then lowers the average cost of goods (inflation). In an attempt to try and keep money “flowing,” the Fed lowers interest rates to incentivize people to take on debt now because of the lower long term cost to repay in the future. Now with extra money in the hands of people and prices lowered, the money gets spent and the economy hopefully stabilizes and keeps GDP from fluctuating to much. This project opened my eyes to seeing that all of these things work together in the economy and aren’t just far off things that don’t affect me. It also makes me understand that I need to be more active in learning about economics because I’ll be graduating in a year and a half and I don’t want to be misinformed or fall victim to false stories of what is going on.

  24. During this portfolio project, I focused on the topics GDP, Labor and Unemployment, Inflation and Prices, and Economic Fluctuations – Business Cycles. I learned a lot about the US economy and gained a deeper understanding of each of these topics. I learned how graphs were set up in quarters usually and how to use them when finding all sorts of values. I found it interesting how GDP worked and the power it has to predict trends for the future. I also found It interesting how world events like war or a global pandemic, really can have an impact on the economy. Since I am someone who doesn’t particularly enjoy math, I initially found it difficult to understand how the rates worked and reading the graphs on St Louis Fed and got confused with the different terms ways a graph could be set up. However, through this project, I now know how to calculate rates and I also know what information I need to calculate them with. I definitely have a more clear understanding of what GDP is. For example, there are many different ways to show GDP and values differ if you are finding the GDP of a specific population, like the urban population. I also understand that in most articles they use real GDP values to solve for rates instead of regular GDP. With the topic of labor and unemployment, I was surprised to learn about how high the unemployment rate. I was very unaware of how high it was because I have a job currently and thought employment was easy to get if someone really wanted to be employed, meaning I though unemployment was really low. This awakening made me realize that I need to pay attention to it because I also work at a company that could lay me off. Learning how to calculate unemployment rates is vital to know when predicting the economy’s future. Although it had been decreasing prior to the COVID-19 shutdown, it is still a very relevant issue in our workforce. On the topic of Inflation and Prices, I learned what inflation was. I always thought I knew what it was but in reality, I was wrong about my definition. Inflation is the increase in prices of goods and services over a period of time in the economy. I really liked researching and learning about inflation and its trends. Inflation to me just made sense. The inflation rates were easy to calculate too and the rates and how they were used to describe the economy made sense to me. Lastly, I understand a lot more about the business cycle because many of my articles had to do with the COVID-19 shutdown and its impact on the American economy. I focused mainly on recession and expansion. At first, it was difficult for me to read the graphs at first and understand what they meant, I was got the hang of it and am not about to identify and analyze the different parts of a business cycle effectively. Although I did a lot of research and learned a lot about how values were found, specifically rates, I still have questions about how to predicting values from one-quarter of GDP and how historical values impact potential values. Overall this project has made me more interested in reading articles about finance and the overall economy. I have also gained interest in personal finance and stocks after reading more into inflation and GDP. And I am also more conscious about unemployment and its impact on the economy.

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