Civics Today Citizenship, Economics, & You

Chapter 19: The American Economy

Student Web Activity

"Measuring GDP"

In this chapter you read about the American economy. By studying economic indicators, the government determines whether the economy is in a period of expansion or recession. Some of the economic indicators are the consumer price index, the unemployment rate, and gross domestic product. In this activity you will take a closer look at how the government measures GDP.

Destination Title: EconEdLink—A Case Study in Gross Domestic Product

Note: Clicking on the link above will launch a new browser window.
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Start at the EconEdLink Web site.

  • In the search window, type GDP.
  • Refine the search results by selecting “Lessons” under Resource Type.
  • Select the first lesson that appears.
  • Read the lesson.

After you have read the definition and studied the charts answer the following questions.

In the name GDP, why do you think the terms “gross,” “domestic,” and “product” make sense?
What is commonly used to compare our standard of living to other nations?
At what rate did real GDP increase or decrease in the most recent quarter?
Did unemployment grow or shrink for the same period?
Find out the GDP for last year and the rates of change for this year. Enter the rates of change into a spreadsheet. Use this information to create a graph of GDP for the current year.
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