Category Archives: Marketing

RICHEST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD 2021

Top 10 Richest People in the World (Updated 2021)

Balwinder  January 13, 2021  

Edited By Alex Santiago

Pandemic has made all of us take a huge toll on our salary and business income. However, there are people in the world who have succeeded in maintaining their wealth during the last 6 months. Well, we are aware of the names. Starting from Jeff Bezos to Warren Buffett, all the world’s richest people have grown their net worth while most of us were losing it. So move to look in the list of richest people in the world.

Richest People in the World

Whatsoever, we aren’t aware of all the richest people in the world. With this article, we will find about the top 10 richest people in the world, along with their wealth and net worth and how they manage to grow it during this time.

Top 10 Richest People In The World With The Highest Net Worth:

Here is the list of 10 Richest People in the World:

1. Elon Musk

Elon Musk

Elon Musk, the co-founder of the world s largest EV manufacturing company – Tesla Inc., has surpassed Bill Gates to become the 2nd in the list of top richest people in the world. With his net worth solely growing from Tesla’s shares, there is no way anyone can beat him in this race. As per his prediction, the Tesla share crossed the $500 billion mark, which is the reason for his enormous growth. Well, many consider him the Tony Stark of the billionaires.

  • Net Worth – $195 billion

2. Jeff Bezos

Jeff Bezos

Jeff Bezos, as of Jan 2021, is on the top when it comes to the world s richest people in the world. He is the co-founder of Amazon.com, which now has several subsidiaries all across the globe. His net worth is in billion and, therefore, tough for many to match. Unbelievably, Jeff Bezos’ net worth grew $72.4 billion during the last year and continues to do so without taking a halt.

  • Net Worth – $185 billion

3. Bill Gates

Bill Gates - Richest People in the World

Well, who hasn’t heard of Bill Gates. The former CEO of Microsoft is loved by everyone. It is his charitable nature that pulls him down on the list of the world s richest people. His age is 65 years and still believes in growing his net worth. His charitable nature has made him one of the kindest people in the world.  Bill Gates was ruling the top 10 richest people in the world’s list until Jeff Bezos took his place.

  • Net Worth – $132 billion

4. Bernard Arnault

Bernard Arnault

Bernard Arnault is a hero for many people. His way of growing his wealth is phenomenal and, thus, loved by many, even after the decrease in the demand for luxurious goods. He has made sure to hold his position at 4th place among the top billionaires with an amazing net worth. He has invested heavily in his business empire and owns brands like Louis Vuitton and Sephora.

  • Net Worth – $110 Billion

5. Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg - Richest People in the World

He is the co-founder and CEO of Facebook Inc. He is the youngest billionaire and has made his way into Forbes numerous times. Two years ago, there was only 1 cent-billionaire (more than $100 billion); however, we have 5 now. Mark Zuckerberg invested heavily in Reliance Industries recently to convert India into a digitally free country. All of them have a marvelous way of investing in different ventures. Being one of the 10 billionaires in the world is indeed a great thing.

  • Net Worth – $100 billion

6. Warren Buffet

Warren Buffet

Warren Buffet, the chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, is the classiest person that one can come across. His investment strategy is out of the box. With most of his wealth from the stock market, there is always something new to learn about the person.

At a very tender age, Warren Buffett understood the importance of investing and made his first 2 billion of net worth in a very short span. Currently, he is the largest shareholder of Coca-Cola Inc. and has a major investment in American Airlines, United, Southwest, and Delta. Apart from it, Warren Buffet and Bill Gates have been great friends for a long time.

  • Net Worth – $85.2 billion

7. Larry Page

Larry Page - Richest People in the World

Larry, along with his partner, had an aim to make Google Inc., the biggest company in this world. Well, he succeeded in the same but had to leave his position to take care of his life. He is the co-founder of the holding company for Google, i.e., Alphabet. Larry stepped down from his position in December 2019. His innovative idea is one of the main reasons why he is one of the richest persons in this world.

  • Net Worth – $83.6 billion

8. Larry Ellison

Larry Ellison

At some point of time in life, we all must have come across the software giant Oracle. Well, Larry is the co-founder and chairman of this company. He has stakes in different companies and believes in investing heavily in futuristic companies. He is among the few people who’s wealth didn’t shrink this year.

  • Net Worth – $79.7 billion

9. Steve Ballmer

Steve Ballmer

Well, most of us might not have come across the name Steve Ballmer. He is the ninth richest person in this world and is renowned for his former CEO position for Microsoft. Being a basketball fan, he owns the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team, which he invested in 2014. He bought the team for an amount of $2 billion and has loved it since that day.

  • Net Worth – $79.1 billion

10. Sergey Brin

Sergey Brin

The last one on our list of the top richest people in the world is Sergey Brin. He is the person who helped Larry Page form the ultimate software company, Alphabet. He recently stepped down from the position of President of Alphabet in the year 2019. Now, he is known for his wealth and his position as a board member for the company.

  • Net Worth – $78.8 billion

Well, most of you must be looking for the name Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries. Whatsoever, his wealth shrunk recently to $76.8 billion from $90 billion. This gave an opportunity to Steve Ballmer and Sergey Brin to take his position on the list. However, he is the owner of the company, which passed the $2 trillion mark in recent times.  Muskan Ambani has been on the list of the richest people and is looking forward to grabbing the same in the future.

30 TIPS FOR BUILDING A WEBSITE

30 Tips for Building Your First Business Website

 Author Annie Pilon

Edited By Alex Santiago

First Business Website



Don’t know a blog from a website from social media platform? Are you ready for your first business website but don’t know how to get started?

Having a professional, comprehensive website is important for pretty much every new business. But getting started can seem intimidating for those who have never had their own website before. Below are tips for building your first business website.

Have a Clear Goal

Every small business website is different because every one serves a different purpose. If you want your first business website to be a portal for people to buy products, you need to build it around that goal. If you want it to provide information and entice potential clients to call you, you have to build it with that goal in mind. A website without a clear purpose will only cost you time and money while providing little, if any, benefit.

Write Your Own Content

Before getting started with building your first business website, you should decide, at least in basic terms, what you want it to say. According to Emily Bracket, president of design and branding firm Visible Logic, the website owner should at least start the content creation for their own site. Even if you plan to hire someone to edit or polish it, you know the basic message of your company more than anyone else will.

State Your Purpose Clearly and Quickly

You do, however, want to make sure that the written content of your website isn’t too long-winded. Website visitors don’t often spend a lot of time reading through pages of content just to find basic information. So make sure that the important points about your company and its offerings are very clear and easy for visitors to find.

Tell Customers What You Can Do for Them

It can also help to try reading your content as a potential visitor. According to Bracket, a common pitfall she sees among new website owners is a tendency to focus on what they do, rather than what benefit they provide to customers or clients.

Utilize Calls to Action

Another way to make your goals very clear to visitors is to utilize calls to action. Do you want them to sign up for your newsletter? If so, add a form on your main page. Do you want them to shop through your new collection of products? Tell them so.

Develop a Page Hierarchy

Almost all business websites include at least a few different pages. You might choose to go with a very simple format, including a home page, about page and contact page. Or you might want different pages for your different services, with a main services page that offers a general overview. That’s something you should decide on, or at least consider, before building or hiring someone to build your site.

Draw Inspiration

If you’re unsure of how you want your first business website to look or how you want your content to read, look around for some websites that you really like. Don’t copy them, of course. But looking for some outside inspiration can help you get an idea of what you want from your new site.

Professional Website > Personal Accomplishment

Small businesses strapped for cash might want to go the DIY route for their first business website. While some have done this successfully, it’s tricky for a new business owner. Bracket said in a phone interview with Small Business Trends:


“I hear it all the time from business owners who tried to build their own websites. They felt so proud and it was such a great learning experience. But the fact is that customers don’t care what a great learning experience it was. They only care that your website looks professional. So even if you worked really hard on it, if it doesn’t look professional it can be detrimental to your business.”

Own Your Domain

Bracket also recommends that all businesses purchase an actual domain name. Some providers offer free ones that come with extensions. But yourbusiness.com tends to be more professional and easy to remember than yourbusiness.wordpress.com.

Choose a Reliable Host

There are also plenty of different hosting platforms available. Bracket and her team recommend and mainly work with WordPress, which she says is a great scalable and customizable option. But there are others that you can look into based on the needs for your particular website.

Consider Future Growth

However, if you plan or hope to grow your business quickly, think carefully before choosing a low-cost platform aimed at very small sites. Platforms like Wix and Squarespace can work great for businesses that plan to stay relatively small and use just a few features. But if you ever outgrow them, transferring all of your site content to a new host can be a pain, according to Bracket.

Get a Designer You Admire

If you are going to hire someone to create your first business website, choose someone who you think fits the style of your business. One of the best ways to do this is to look at those sites that you admire and see who’s responsible for the design.

Seek Samples and References

Once you have a few names to consider, take a look at their other work and don’t be afraid to ask for references.

Consider the Project’s Scale

However, even if you’ve found some sites you like, they might not have many elements that would be applicable to your own website project. When looking for examples, you should take into account the scale of the project along with the actual design elements. You don’t want to choose a designer based on their work with huge brands that have hundreds of website pages if your project is very small and basic.

Peruse Pre-Made Themes

Not every brand new business owner will necessarily have the resources to hire a design team. There are plenty of pre-made themes available for purchase, depending on the web host you’ve chosen. So find a theme that fits with your branding and will allow for small edits down the road.

Stay Away from Free Themes

However, Bracket cautions against businesses choosing free themes for their sites, since they often aren’t as secure as those you purchase. It doesn’t have to be a huge expense, but even a small investment in a good theme can help keep your first business website secure.

Add a Face

One of the common elements of many popular small business websites, according to Bracket, is a photo of the founder or the team. She explains:

“A lot of times with new businesses or website owners, they want to try and make their businesses look big. But that’s not always beneficial. A lot of customers want to know that there’s a real person who’s going to be working with them. So including a good photo of yourself or your team is almost always a good idea.”

Tell a Personal Story

Another way to make people feel more connected to your business through your website is to tell your story. Bracket says:

“It’s really nice to include a story about yourself or why you created the business in the first place, as long as that reason is something more than just ‘to make money.’ If you started the business to help people or if there was a specific thing that happened that led to your business idea, people love stories like that.”

Set Up Easy Contact

With very limited exceptions, every business website, no matter the type or size, should include contact information. This can be an email address, phone number, address, social accounts, or all of the above. The more ways you give people to contact you, the more likely they are to feel comfortable reaching out.

Always Include a Contact Form

When deciding which types of contact information to provide, a contact form should always be included, says Bracket. Sometimes people are looking to get in touch but they don’t have access to their main email program or just can’t click on your email link for whatever reason. A contact form makes it easy for people to send a message no matter where they are or what kind of device they are using.

Keep Design Elements Simple

Whether you’re working with a designer or just choosing a template, don’t go too crazy with different design elements. Stick with a few colors or textures and don’t add too many different fonts or type sizes.

Make Text Easy-to-Read

Since the text of your site is likely what’s providing most of the relevant information to your visitors, it’s important that they can actually read it. Basic typefaces, like those that your designer or theme are likely to suggest, are best for readability. So don’t go changing all of your fonts to fancy lettering just because you think it looks cool.

Add Valuable Images

Visuals like images can also go a long way for adding interest to your first business website. Some ideas for relevant images include team photos, examples of your work, and even relevant stock images.

Avoid Cheap Stock Photography

However, an overwhelming amount of stock photography won’t really add anything to your first business website. So if you’re not willing to make a small investment in good images, it might be best to just skip it. Bracket says:

“Some people see other websites that utilize great photos and they think, ‘I really need a photo here.’ But then they don’t want to pay anything for photography so they end up with one that doesn’t show anything about the business, is low quality and has been seen a thousand times. If it doesn’t actually add anything to your page, you might just be better off with no photo at all.”

Include Customer Testimonials

Customer testimonials can be another great element of a lot of business sites. If your business is brand new, work on getting some quality testimonials first, rather than just publishing bland, generic recommendations. But even a few text blocks from customers can help build your credibility.

Scout Good Images

Including images with those testimonials can increase their prevalence on your site even more. But you might have to work on getting the best images possible. Bracket explains:

“I’ve found that, for clients that like to include photos with things like testimonials, if they ask clients for photos they tend to be a bit bashful about sending them. But if they just ask if they can use a photo from their LinkedIn page or take one while they’re on a sales call, they’re more likely to go for it. You have to make it really easy for them.”

Add Video Elements When Possible

You can also add video testimonials or other types of video content to your first business website if it’s relevant to your message and high quality.

Insist on a Mobile Site

But no matter what type of content you decide to include on your website, make sure that the site itself is responsive or mobile friendly. Having a site that isn’t mobile optimized can drive away customers, hurt your SEO and look unprofessional, writes aWebsite.com.

Research SEO

SEO is a concept you’ll have to keep in mind throughout the entirety of running your website. Your designer should be able to help with the basics at first. But over time you’ll likely want to educate yourself about some of the concepts so that people can easily find you online.

Learn as You Go

Once your first business website is live, the process is far from over. You’ve made a great first step. But a company’s website is never really complete. Add or change elements as your business grows and changes. Adapt to things like SEO and mobile designs, writes abcSEO. And always remember to keep your customers’ needs and wants in mind when it comes to your first business website.

THE ADULT ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY

Edited By Alex Santiago

As therapist John Woods recently wrote, pornography “is no longer just a private problem. It is a public health problem.”

It’s no secret that adult entertainment is one of the leading industries driving website traffic online. But just how much of this traffic is actually going to porn websites, and what locations is it coming from? We got an inside look alongside SimilarWeb to explore the murky world of online porn consumption. The results may surprise you—and also provide a fresh perspective on how online marketers working in this category maximize their returns.

Pornographic websites are responsible for 4.41% of all desktop visits on the internet worldwide. To put that in perspective, ExtremeTech surveyed usage data pulled from Google’s DoubleClick Ad Planner and discovered that the most popular porn site on the web serves up 4.4 billion page views per month. Reddit, by comparison, clocks in with just 2.8 billion.

The adult entertainment category ranks seventh on the list of leading categories on the internet, falling just below computers and electronics and surpassing a variety of other very strong categories, including games and sports.

Which countries have the most shares of porn sites?

Porn sites are clearly the unhealthy habit of choice for many, as it outranks gambling, beauty and fitness, travel, health, and recreation. The adult entertainment industry is known for driving huge profits, and is in fact twice as large as the online finance industry, in terms of traffic share, as we can see in the chart below.

Adult entertainment percentage desktop worldwide
Countries with biggest share adult entertainment

World average – 4.41%

According to SimilarWeb’s analysis, the top two countries with the highest share of adult websites are Iraq and Egypt, two very socially conservative countries that many wouldn’t have previously thought would factor in the top 10. Rounding out the category are predominantly European nations with the likes of Japan and Peru making up the Asian and South American contingent.

Which countries have the longest sessions, and visit the most pages?

Meanwhile on the list of countries with the longest average session time, East outranks West. Middle-Eastern countries along with those in Asia dominate the top of the rankings. Interestingly, neither the USA, UK nor Canada are ranked on the below chart, suggesting that there is a very lucrative market for adult websites overseas.

Countries longest sessions adult entertainment

World average – 0:03:16

Countries most pageviews adult entertainment

World average – 3.8

Once again Europe is dominating the list—and in terms of highest pages viewed per visit, specifically northern Europe. However, way out in front is Hong Kong, with its nearest Asian neighbor, Singapore, placed in fifth.

Which search engine is used to find porn?

Google is the clear search engine of choice for users looking for porn, with a whopping 83.48% of all adult-site search coming from the brand. Maybe this isn’t too surprising since Google is by far the biggest and most popular search engine, and with adult sites especially, people want a search engine they can trust. However, there have been suggestions that Google’s filtering results are sending more users to Bing.

Traffic source adult entertainment

Fun fact: our data shows that the social media channel driving the most traffic to adult websites is not Facebook as we had expected, but reddit.com. You might be surprised to see that Tumblr is missing from this list, but that’s because the blogging site is built on subdomains, and therefore each subdomain is counted as a separate website. (Analysis can be done on Tumblr alone, but this would warrant its own study.)

Social networks traffic adult entertainment
Top suppliers adult entertainment traffic
Why This Matters

The key takeaway here is that porn sites have absolutely flooded the web. And the more our society becomes sexually saturated, the more porn makers pump out harder and harder material to make sure they stay on the cutting edge.

“Thirty years ago ‘hardcore’ pornography usually meant the explicit depiction of sexual intercourse,” wrote Dr. Norman Doidge, in his recent book on neuroscience, The Brain That Changes Itself. “Now hardcore has evolved and is increasingly dominated by the sadomasochistic themes…all involving scripts fusing sex with hatred and humiliation. Hardcore pornography now explores the world of [violence], while softcore is now what hardcore was a few decades ago… The comparatively tame softcore pictures of yesteryear…now show up on mainstream media all day long, in the pornification of everything, including television, rock videos, soap operas, advertisements, and so on.”

And not only is there more porn to watch, but also there are more ways than ever to watch it. Today, not only do we have high-speed Internet, we’ve got it on tap for devices we have with us 24 hours a day. Families have gone from having one shared computer to often having multiple personal laptops, smartphones, and tablets. It’s now virtually possible to have an Internet-enabled screen in front of our eyes nearly every minute of the day.

As porn’s availability has risen, so have its devastating effects on people, relationships, and society at large. As therapist John Woods recently wrote, pornography “is no longer just a private problem. It is a public health problem.”

THE USA ECONOMY

U.S. Economic Outlook

Edited By Alex Santiago

The economy likely recovered robustly in Q3, after Q2’s unprecedented contraction due to the blow dealt by Covid-19. In September, the unemployment rate dropped 0.5 percentage points from the month prior while non-farm payrolls continued to rise, although they were still down 10.7 million compared to February. This, coupled with consumer confidence hitting a six-month high, likely boosted private spending, as suggested by a jump in auto and clothing sales in the same month. Furthermore, upbeat construction activity and a surge in housing starts in Q3 should have supported residential investment. Meanwhile, Joe Biden and the Democrats are currently leading the polls ahead of the presidential elections on 3 November. Under a Biden administration, economic growth would likely benefit from increased spending on infrastructure and social security, as well as a less disruptive foreign trade policy.

United States Economic Growth

Next year, GDP should rebound on the back of ample monetary and fiscal stimulus and as the impact of the pandemic fades. A lower unemployment rate and rising consumer confidence levels should support household spending next year. U.S.–China trade tensions and renewed lockdown measures are key downside risks to the outlook, however. Focus Economics panelists see GDP growing 3.8% in 2021, which is unchanged from the previous month’s forecast. In 2022, our panel sees the economy expanding 2.9%.

United States Economy Overview

Economic Overview of the United States

Despite facing challenges at the domestic level along with a rapidly transforming global landscape, the U.S. economy is still the largest and most important in the world. The U.S. economy represents about 20% of total global output, and is still larger than that of China. Moreover, according to the IMF, the U.S. has the sixth highest per capita GDP (PPP). The U.S. economy features a highly-developed and technologically-advanced services sector, which accounts for about 80% of its output. The U.S. economy is dominated by services-oriented companies in areas such as technology, financial services, healthcare and retail. Large U.S. corporations also play a major role on the global stage, with more than a fifth of companies on the Fortune Global 500 coming from the United States.

Even though the services sector is the main engine of the economy, the U.S. also has an important manufacturing base, which represents roughly 15% of output. The U.S. is the second largest manufacturer in the world and a leader in higher-value industries such as automobiles, aerospace, machinery, telecommunications and chemicals. Meanwhile, agriculture represents less than 2% of output. However, large amounts of arable land, advanced farming technology and generous government subsidies make the U.S. a net exporter of food and the largest agricultural exporting country in the world.

The U.S. economy maintains its powerhouse status through a combination of characteristics. The country has access to abundant natural resources and a sophisticated physical infrastructure. It also has a large, well-educated and productive workforce. Moreover, the physical and human capital is fully leveraged in a free-market and business-oriented environment. The government and the people of the United States both contribute to this unique economic environment. The government provides political stability, a functional legal system, and a regulatory structure that allow the economy to flourish. The general population, including a diversity of immigrants, brings a solid work ethic, as well as a sense of entrepreneurship and risk taking to the mix. Economic growth in the United States is constantly being driven forward by ongoing innovation, research and development as well as capital investment.

The U.S. economy is currently emerging from a period of considerable turmoil. A mix of factors, including low interest rates, widespread mortgage lending, excessive risk taking in the financial sector, high consumer indebtedness and lax government regulation, led to a major recession that began in 2008. The housing market and several major banks collapsed and the U.S. economy proceeded to contract until the third quarter of 2009 in what was the deepest and longest downturn since the Great Depression. The U.S. government intervened by using USD 700 billion to purchase troubled mortgage-related assets and propping up large floundering corporations in order to stabilize the financial system. It also introduced a stimulus package worth USD 831 billion to be spent across the following 10 years to boost the economy.

The economy has been recovering slowly yet unevenly since the depths of the recession in 2009. The economy has received further support through expansionary monetary policies. This includes not only holding interest rates at the lower bound, but also the unconventional practice of the government buying large amounts of financial assets to increase the money supply and hold down long term interest rates—a practice known as “quantitative easing”.

While the labor market has recovered significantly and employment has returned to pre-crisis levels, there is still widespread debate regarding the health of the U.S. economy. In addition, even though the worst effects of the recession are now fading, the economy still faces a variety of significant challenges going forward. Deteriorating infrastructure, wage stagnation, rising income inequality, elevated pension and medical costs, as well as large current account and government budget deficits, are all issues facing the US economy.

U.S. Economic History

The end of World War II marked the beginning of a golden era for the U.S economy. This period was marked by a surge in economic activity and productivity, a growing and more prosperous middle class, and the rise of the baby boomer generation. From the late 1940s to the early 1970s, U.S. GDP grew at an average annual rate of nearly 4%. By the 1970s, the structural change in the economy away from industry and manufacturing to services was in full force. However, after several decades of unprecedented growth, the economy began to show signs of slowing and a series of events, including the collapse of the Bretton Woods system, the 1973 oil crisis and increased global competition, precipitated important economic changes. The 1970s were marked by a period of stagnating growth and inflation referred to as “stagflation”.

The 1980s gave rise to Reaganomics, a series of economic policies promoted by President Ronald Reagan. The main objectives were reduced government spending and regulation, as well as lower taxes and a tighter money supply. Regan was highly successful in overhauling the tax code and pushing ahead with deregulation in several major sectors of the economy; and while growth and productivity increased, the government’s debt multiplied significantly. In a broader sense, Reaganomics marked a turn toward free-market supply-side economics and away from the Keynsian-inspired economics that had been favored since the Great Depression.

Increasing global integration and the rise of new technology, including the adoption of productivity-enhancing IT in the workplace and the surge of high-tech companies, helped fuel an economic boom in the 1990s. The period between 1993 and 2001 marked the longest sustained expansion in U.S economic history, and powered a steep rise in employment, income and consumer demand.

Moreover, the strong growth and low unemployment during this time were particularly remarkable because the government budget was reigned in simultaneously and actually achieved a surplus for four years between 1998 and 2001. The fiscal improvement was made possible in part by tax increases introduced by President Bill Clinton, but also thanks to the booming economy and surging stock market. The stock market was driven up by the rise of internet-based companies in what is known as the “dot-com bubble”, which generated vast sums of unanticipated revenue for the government on capital gains taxes and rising salaries. However, the overvaluation of dot-com stocks eventually became apparent and the bubble burst in 2000.

The first years of the 2000s saw a sharp drop in economy activity following the dot-com burst. The terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and several corporate scandals put a further damper on economic activity and business confidence. The Federal Reserve (the Fed), under Alan Greenspan, stepped in to counteract the struggling economy by introducing low interest rates. This move would later be considered a major factor in causing the massive housing market bubble that burst and precipitated the Great Recession that began in 2008.

United States’ Balance of payments

Over the past several decades, the U.S. current account balance has been heavily influenced by international trade flows, with the ongoing trade deficit resulting in a consistent current account deficit. Earnings on U.S. assets and investments owned abroad have a very small part in the current account, and a surplus in this category is not nearly enough to offset the large trade deficit. Overall, the current account deficit implies that the value of the goods and services being purchased from abroad by the United States exceeds the value of the goods and services being sold to foreigners. The U.S. current account deficit widened progressively since the 1990s and reached an all-time record and global high of 5.8% of GDP in 2006. The deficit has since narrowed due in part to increased domestic oil production.

The current account deficit is mirrored by a capital account surplus. The net amount of capital inflows received in the United States from abroad makes it possible to finance the current account deficit. Foreigners continue to invest in U.S. assets and companies, and so the net international investment position of the United States has grown over time. The United States is by far the top recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI). About 80% of FDI in the United States comes from a set of just nine industrialized countries. The UK, Japan and the Netherlands are the top sources of FDI in the U.S. The U.S. manufacturing sector draws about 40% of FDI.

United States’ Trade Structure

The U.S. is the 2nd leading exporter of goods and services in the world and the number one leading importer. The U.S. has consistently run a trade deficit, mainly due to the dependence on foreign oil to meet its energy needs and high domestic demand for consumer goods produced abroad, however thanks to advances in domestic oil production, the energy gap is closing. The main trading partners of the U.S. are Canada, China, Mexico and Japan. Canada is the main destination for U.S. exports, whereas China is the main source of imports.

The U.S. plays a major role in the international trade system and is generally seen as a proponent of reduced trade barriers and free trade agreements. The United States currently has more than a dozen free trade agreements in place. Among them are the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which was created in conjunction with Canada and Mexico in 1994. The United States is also an active member of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Exports from the United States

Although the United States has lost some of its competitive edge in recent decades, material goods still represent two thirds of its total exports. The United States mainly exports high-value capital goods and manufactured products, including industrial machinery, airplanes, motor vehicles and chemicals. In 2015, the U.S. exported USD 1.510 trillion in goods.

The United States is the world’s leading exporter of services. This includes financial and professional business services as well as other knowledge-intensive services. Travel, transportation and tourism services are also a major export. Services represent about one third of total exports.

Imports to the United States

More 80% of total imports brought to the United States from abroad are goods. Roughly 15% of these imports are in the form crude oil, fuel oil and petroleum products. Industrial machinery, supplies and equipment represent another 15% of imported goods. Almost 25% of imported goods are capital goods, such as computers, computer accessories, electronics, medical equipment, and telecommunications equipment. Consumer goods represent another 25% of imported goods. Cellphones, pharmaceuticals, toys, household equipment, textiles, apparel, televisions, and footwear are the main types of consumer goods imported to the United States. An additional 15% of imported goods are automotive vehicles, parts, and engines. Food and beverages represent only about 5% of imported goods. Services represent only 20% of total imports, and are primarily financial services, as well as travel and transportation.

United States’ Economic Policy

The U.S. government has faced the momentous task of reversing the effects of the recession with a combination of expansionary fiscal and monetary policy. On the fiscal side, government stimulus spending and tax cuts prevented further deterioration of the economy. On the monetary side, the Federal Reserve has tackled economic weakness with both traditional and unconventional policies.

The United States is typically regarded as the home of free-market economic policies. However, the U.S. government exercises a significant amount of regulation over economic, commercial and financial activities. Following the recession, the government stepped up its oversight in the financial sector. The Dodd-Frank act, passed in 2010, represents the most comprehensive reform of financial markets regulation since the Great Depression.

United States’ Fiscal Policy

The U.S. government tends to spend more money than it takes in, and thus has incurred fiscal deficits almost uninterruptedly during the past several decades. The only time when the government managed to balance a budget in recent history was between 1998 and 2001, when the strong economy resulted in higher-than-usual tax revenues. The fiscal deficit reached the highest point since 1945 in 2009 at 9.8% of GDP, but has improved progressively since then; the deficit dropped to 2.4% of GDP in 2015.

The largest portion of government spending is mandated by existing laws, with a large amount of funds allocated to entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicaid. Mandatory spending represents nearly 60% of total government spending. The remainder is referred to as discretionary spending, and is determined by the annual federal budget. About half of the discretionary budget is spent on the military and defense, with the other half spent on government programs and public services.

Nearly 50% of tax obtained by the U.S. government comes from income taxes on individuals, with an additional 10% coming from income taxes on businesses and corporations. Another 35% of collections come from payroll and social security taxes. Excise taxes charged on goods such as liquor, tobacco and gasoline bring in a smaller amount, less than 5%. Tax revenues equaled about 18% of GDP on average between 1970 and 2010. Total tax revenues as a percentage of GDP were about 18% in 2015.

The stimulus package introduced by the Obama administration in 2009 included USD 288 billion in tax cuts and incentives. Less than two years later, Obama announced an extension to the tax cuts that had been introduced during the Bush administration at a cost of more than USD 400 billion over two years.

United States’ Monetary Policy

The U.S. Congress has established that the monetary policy objectives of the Federal Reserve are to promote maximum employment and price stability in what is known as the “dual mandate”. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is the Fed’s monetary policymaking body. The FOMC meets about eight times a year to discuss developments and the outlook for the U.S. economy and to debate different policy options, including the level of interest rates. The federal funds rate, the main interest rate managed by the Fed, is the rate which deposit banks charge each other to trade funds overnight in order to maintain reserve balance requirements. The federal funds rate is one of the most important in the U.S. economy because it influences all other short term interest rates.

During the years since the recession hit, the Fed has been very active.. Interest rates were initially supposed to be kept low only until the unemployment rate dropped to 6.5% or inflation surpassed 2.5%. However, this specific forward guidance was revamped in March 2014 when the Fed announced that any future decisions to hike interest rates no longer depended on previously-established quantitative thresholds, but rather on the assessment of a broad range of more qualitative information. In an additional response to counter the effects of the recession, in December 2012, the Fed announced an unconventional policy known as “quantitative easing”. This policy involves the purchase of vast sums of financial assets in an attempt to increase the money supply and hold down long-term interest rates.

United States’ Exchange Rate Policy

The U.S. dollar is often referred to as the world’s currency because it is by far the most used currency in international transactions and also the most widely held reserve currency. Almost two thirds of currency reserves held throughout the world are in U.S. dollars.

Although the Treasury Department has the primary authority to oversee international financial issues, the Treasury’s decisions regarding foreign exchange are made in consultation with the Federal Reserve. However, U.S. intervention in the foreign exchange market has become increasingly less frequent. U.S. authorities typically let the open foreign exchange market and domestic monetary policies determine rates.