U.S.: Real GDP Growth Rate, by year
YearAnnual rate,
in %
  • Region: United States
  • Time period: 1990 to 2022
  • Published: Jan 2023

Data Analysis and Insights

Updated: Mar 28, 2024 | Published by: Statistico

Peak Growth in the Late 1990s

The United States experienced its peak annual real GDP growth rates in the late 1990s, with 4.8% in 1999 and 4.5% in 1998, showcasing a period of robust economic expansion.

Economic Contractions in 2020 and 2009

The economy contracted during the years 2020 and 2009, with annual rates of -2.8% and -2.6% respectively, reflecting the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the global financial crisis.

Recovery Post-Recessions

Following the recession in 2009, a significant recovery occurred with a growth rate of 2.7% in 2010, and similarly, after the contraction in 2020, the economy rebounded with a 5.9% growth rate in 2021.

Steady Growth in the Early 2000s

The early 2000s saw steady economic growth, with rates ranging from 1.7% to 3.9% between 2002 and 2004, indicating a period of consistent economic recovery and expansion.

Lowest Growth in the Early 1990s and 2000s

The lowest growth rates outside of recession years were recorded in 1991 and 2001, with -0.1% and 1.0% respectively, marking periods of economic stagnation.

Decade Comparison: 1990s vs. 2000s

The 1990s were characterized by higher growth rates, culminating in the late '90s economic boom, whereas the 2000s experienced more variability, including the early 2000s recession and a gradual recovery thereafter.

21st Century Economic Trends

Since 2000, the U.S. economy has faced significant fluctuations, including two major recessions, with recovery periods marked by varying growth rates, reflecting the dynamic nature of modern economic cycles.

Recent Economic Performance

The most recent data from 2022 shows a growth rate of 2.1%, indicating a slowdown compared to the recovery peak in 2021 but still maintaining a positive trajectory.

Frequently Asked Questions

In which year did the annual growth rate reach its highest since 1990?

The annual growth rate hit its highest in 1999 at 4.8%.

Which year experienced the most significant economic contraction since 1990?

2020 saw a considerable economic contraction with a -2.8% growth rate, primarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

How did the economy recover after the 2009 recession?

After the 2009 recession, the economy recovered to a 2.7% growth rate in 2010.

How has the annual GDP growth rate fluctuated since the turn of the century?

Since the 21st century, the annual GDP growth rate has varied from a low of -2.8% in 2020 to a high of 5.9% in 2021.

Terms and Definitions

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the total value of all goods and services produced by a country in a specific time period. It serves as a comprehensive measure of a nation's overall economic activity. It can be calculated in three ways: output, expenditure, and income approach.

Growth rate refers to the percentage change in some quantity over time. It is used to express the annual increase in an investment's value, the population growth of a city, the spread of a disease, or any other rapidly-changing figure. In economic terms, a positive growth rate typically signals an improving economy, while a negative rate indicates an economic decline.

The U.S. economy, considered as the largest and one of the most diversified economies of the world, is a federal market economy, where the states, the private business sector, and the federal government share control over the economic activity. It is characterized by a rich natural resource base, high productivity, and constant innovation.

An economic indicator is a statistic about an economic activity. They allow analysis of economic performance and predictions of future performance. Economic indicators include various indices, earnings reports, and economic summaries, such as unemployment rate, consumer price index (CPI), and GDP growth rate.

Real GDP is an inflation-adjusted measure that reflects the quantity of goods and services produced by an economy in a given year, expressed in base-year prices. It is commonly used to compare the economic performance of different countries or of a single country over time.

Nominal GDP is the market value of all final goods and services produced in a geographical region, usually a country, within a given period. Unlike real GDP, it includes the effects of inflation and is hence not adjusted to excluding price changes.

Inflation is the rate at which the general level of prices for goods and services is rising, and subsequently, purchasing power is falling. Central banks attempt to limit inflation — and avoid deflation — in order to keep the economy running smoothly.

Deflation is the general decrease in the level of prices, or a negative inflation rate. While this might seem beneficial, it generally signifies a decrease in demand for goods and services, which can lead to an economic slump.

Recession is a term used to signify a slowdown in general economic activity. In macroeconomic terms, it is defined as a fall in GDP for two consecutive quarters. Recessions are typically characterized by a fall in GDP, employment, investment spending, capacity utilization, household income, business profits and inflation.
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