The U.S. Is Still Growing Faster Than Other Rich Countries

While economic growth prospects for the rest of the world are being upgraded, the International Monetary Fund thinks the U.S. is going to keep plodding along at just over 2 percent annual growth. Look a little closer at the IMF World Economic Outlook report released this week, though, and it’s apparent that this faster global growth is almost all coming from emerging markets. The IMF still forecasts that gross domestic product will grow faster in the U.S. this year and next than in the euro zone, the U.K. or Japan.

This has been the story for several decades now, with the U.S. giving ground to rising nations such as China and India — but usually not giving up as much ground as other advanced economies.

Losing Ground More Slowly Than Others

Share of world gross domestic product*

Source: International Monetary Fund

This is partly about population growth. The ranks of working-age people — a key driver of economic growth — continued to increase in the U.S. even as they started to shrink in Japan and then Europe.

 This growth in the population aged 15 through 64 is actually estimated to have stopped in January. But never fear: Per-capita GDP growth in the U.S. has generally outpaced that of other big developed economies as well.

Getting Richer Faster

Per-capita gross domestic product, in 2011 international dollars*

Source: International Monetary Fund

In July I wrote a column, based on a different IMF report, that argued that “The U.S. Is the Sick Man of the Developed World.” By many measures of living standards, it…

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