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The World of Economics

A global look at economics by country

Areas of Growth and Change

The biggest increase in GDP (gross domestic product) in 2010 occurred not just in Asia, as we have come to expect, but also in the Middle East and northern Africa. These regions of the world experienced a whopping 5.3% growth in GDP. The countries in North America, by comparison, showed a growth in GDP of between 2.7% and 3.9%.

Iceland, Spain, and Haiti showed negative GDP. These countries also showed negative industrial growth rates of -1% (Iceland), -2% (Spain), and -8% (Haiti). Haiti's is perhaps the least surprising of these figures, given the devastation still being experienced in that region after the earthquake of 2010.

Unemployment and Industrial Growth

Spain's negative GDP may be coupled with its relatively high unemployment rate, which hovered at 20% for nearly all of 2010. However, the highest unemployment rates were not limited to Europe. For example, the Gaza Strip and South Africa suffered unemployment rates 23.3%, respectively.

Qatar is one of the countries in the world with the lowest unemployment rate (0.5%) and also boasts the highest increase in industrial growth at 27.10%. Other countries with low unemployment rates (UR) and high industrial growth rates (IG) include Germany, with a UR of 7.1% and an IG of 9% and Brazil, with a UR of 7% and an IG of 11.5%.

Oil Consumption vs. Oil Production

Recently, oil prices have neared the record set in 1861, when the price was approximately $110 in 2008 dollars. Prices spiked again in the 1980s and post-2006 when they neared $100

But are countries who consume a great deal of oil showing negative economic data in other categories? The United States leads the world in oil consumption, at rates of nearly 18,690,000 barrels per day. Yet the US has a comparatively low UR of 9.7% and a positive IG production rate of 3.3%. The European Union is the next largest consumer of oil in the world, at rates of nearly 13,680,000 barrels per day but employment data and IG estimates vary by country.

Russia is the world leader in terms of oil production at rates of 10,120,000 barrels per day, followed by Saudi Arabia at 9,764,000 barrels per day. Though the US consumes the most oil, it is the third largest producer of oil at rates of 9,056,000 barrels per day.

Looking at this data, it appears that the economies of the world are dependent on many complex factors; how well a country is doing in terms of production growth seems to have a link with unemployment figures. However, oil production and oil consumption don't seem to have as much of a direct link with the other factors of a country's economy. Indeed, if we use Haiti as an example, the recent natural disaster that country suffered has had the greatest impact on its economy. So factors as diverse as oil production, consumption, and growth may very well be influenced by factors beyond human control, such as natural disasters.

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