What parts of the U.S. economy are thriving now and which are suffering?

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One aspect of the American economy that is suffering is exports. In 2014, dockworkers on the West Coast entered a conflict with employers in which both parties were "blaming each other for problems getting imports to consumers and exports overseas" (USA Today, "Deal Reached in West Coast Dockworkers Dispute"). The International Longshore and Warehouse Union needed to work out a new labor contract with the Pacific Maritime Association as the previous one had expired; parties finally agreed on a new contract in February 2015. Meanwhile, both imports and exports were being held up at the docks. The number of exports decreased by 3%, and in March 2015 the country had a trade deficit of over $50 billion, which means the value of its imports exceeded the value of its exports by $50 billion (The Economist, "The Slowdown in the American Economy"; Investopedia, "Trade Deficit"). In February, the trade deficit was only $36 billion. Plus, naturally, since both imports and exports were tied up at the docks, profits fell for major corporations.

One current strength of the US economy is that we are "now the world's leading producer of petroleum and natural gas, producing more oil at home than we import" (U.S. Department of the Treasury, "Update: Growing Strength in the U.S. Economy"). The increase in oil production has led to the creation of 700,000 new jobs. Also, the increase in oil production has increased sales in the auto industry with an "annual rate of more than 16 million units" being sold (U.S. Department of the Treasury).