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5 Charts That Show How Great 2013 was for the U.S.

Jason Furman, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, recently posted an entry on the administration’s blog that should give you a warm feeling this holiday season.

In a nutshell, the American economy continues to hum along nicely — and that’s good for stocks, consumers and businesses alike.

Key items of note include the fact that the U.S. “is now the largest producer of oil and gas in world, passing Russia and Saudi Arabia, and for the first time since 1995,” and that our government “has seen most rapid deficit reduction since the demobilization from World War II.”

But perhaps the best comparisons of all aren’t done with words at all, but rather these five charts:

1. While long-term unemployment remains an issue, short term unemployment us back at the pre-recession average.


2. Real GDP was the strongest in over a year in Q3… DESPITE the impact of continued budget mayhem and the sequester.


3. Car sales are back to pre-recession levels — and climbing. That shows both consumer confidence but also potential for American automakers like General Motors (GM) and Ford (F)… and hopefully potential hiring for these companies, too.

vehicle sales

4. The trade deficit “is narrower than pre-crisis years, helped by a falling deficit in petroleum products.” In short, America is less dependent on foreign oil and exporting more goods to the rest of the world.


5. Household debt service is the lowest level on record, dating back to 1980. That means not only have Americans cleaned up their budgets but that they have a lot of dry powder should they want to borrow in order to finance a new car, house or other goods.


All in all… a pretty good year!

Read the full White House blog post and get even more charts here.

Jeff Reeves is the editor of and the author of The Frugal Investor’s Guide to Finding Great Stocks. Write him at or follow him on Twitter via @JeffReevesIP

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