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How Growth Benefits Us All — the 1990s vs. the 2000s

Article by Ike Brannon March 23, 2012 //   6 minute read

The quest for 4% growth is more achievable than many realize, and in fact we saw such a period of prosperity during much of the 1990s. Beginning in 1997, economic growth topped 4% for four straight years, reaching a peak of 4.8% in 1999. The following examples compare the period of high growth in the 1990s (defined as 1995-2000) to the 2000s[1], showing in a concrete way what sustained prosperity does for our economy and society. Comparing the period 1995 to 2000 with the period 2000 to 2010, we find that: • From 1995 to 2000, the labor force participation rate increased by an average of 0.1 percentage points a year. During the years 2000 to 2010, the rate dropped by an average of 0.24 percentage points a year.[2] • From 1995 to 2000, the suicide rate dropped by an average of 2.4% a year. During the years 2000 to 2010, the suicide rate increased by an average of 1.4% a year.[3] • From 1995 to 2000, there were on average 217,000 fewer bankruptcies per year than during the period from 2000 to 2010. • From 1995 to 2000, patents issued for individual inventions increased by an average of 1,000 a year. During the years 2000 to 2010, patents issued dropped by an average of 580 a year. • From 1995 to 2000, movie theater attendance increased by an average of 36 million visitors a year. During the years 2000 to 2010, attendance dropped by an average of 5 million visitors a year. • From 1995 to 2000, there were on average 30 more operating ski resorts per year than during the period from 2000 to 2010. • From 1995 to 2000, persons naturalized as U.S. citizens increased by an average of 80,000 a year. During the years 2000 to 2010, naturalization dropped by an average of 27,000 persons a year. There were 2,330,000 fewer unauthorized immigrants in 2000 than in 2010. • From 1995 to 2000, the value of U.S. construction, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, increased by an average of $53 billion a year. During the years 2000 to 2010, construction value dropped by an average of $1.7 billion a year. • From 1995 to 2000, employment in transportation and warehousing increased by average of 114,000 employees a year. During the years 2000 to 2010, employment dropped by an average of 23,000 employees a year. • From 1995 to 2000, the employed population increased by an average of 0.3 percentage points a year. During the years 2000 to 2010, the ratio dropped by an average of 0.6 percentage points a year. • From 1995 to 2000, the unemployment rate dropped by an average of 0.3 percentage points, or 343,000 people, a year. During the years 2000 to 2010, the unemployment rate increased by an average of 0.6 percentage points, or 913,000 people, a year. • From 1995 to 2000, domestic lumber production increased by an average of 77 million cubic feet a year. During the years 2000 to 2010, production dropped by an average of 240 million cubic feet a year. • From 1995 to 2000, the price of gold dropped by an average of $21 per ounce each year. During the years 2000 to 2010, the price increased by an average of $92 per ounce each year. • The average inflation rate from 1995 to 2000 was 0.63 percentage points lower than in 2011.[4] Comparing the period 1995 to 2000 with the period 2000 to 2009, we find that: • From 1995 to 2000, there were on average 280 more hospitals and 80 thousand more hospital beds than during the period from 2000 to 2009.[5] • From 1995 to 2000, symphony orchestra concerts nationwide increased by an average of 765 events a year. During the years 2000 to 2009, concerts dropped by an average of 38 events a year. • From 1995 to 2000, national park attendance increased by an average of 3.26 million visitors a year. During the years 2000 to 2009, park attendance dropped by an average of 33,000 visitors a year. Comparing the period 1995 to 2000 with the period 2000 to 2008, we find that: • From 1995 to 2000, the average birth rate was 2% higher than during the period from 2000 to 2008. • From 1995 to 2000, the average annual number of people who enter into marriage was 26% higher than during the period from 2000 to 2008. • From 1995 to 2000, homicide rates dropped by an average of 10% a year. During the years 2000 to 2008, homicide rates barely dropped at all, averaging just a 0.2% decrease a year. • From 1995 to 2000, the number of people collecting unemployment insurance dropped by an average of 92,000 a year. During the years 2000 to 2008, collections of unemployment insurance increased by an average of 150,000 persons a year.


 

[1] Readers will note that the time periods analyzed for the 2000s vary due to data availability issues.
[2] U.S. Census Bureau’s 2012 Statistical Abstract of the United States.
[3] U.S. Census Bureau and the Center for Disease Control.
[4] InflationData.com calculations based on BLS data.
[5] This and all following data from U.S. Census Bureau’s 2012 Statistical Abstract of the United States.