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CAPACITY UTILIZATION RATE: The ratio of actual production by business sector factories and other productive establishments in the economy to the potential production of these establishments. This rate indicates if our economy's factories are being used as effectively and as fully as possible. Like the unemployment rate, the capacity utilization rate measures how close our economy is to full employment. And like unemployment, this rate moves up and down over the course of a business cycle. During expansions, the rate is near 85 percent (considered full employment), and during contractions, it tends to be in the 70 percent range. In addition to an overall rate, there are also separate rates for manufacturing, mining, and utility industries.

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Lesson 1: Economic Basics | Unit 2: Doing Economics Page: 4 of 18

Topic: Science and Policy <=PAGE BACK | PAGE NEXT=>

The study of economics involves both scientific investigation and policy analysis.

Economists practice both:

  • Positive economics, which uses the scientific method to uncover the basic mechanism of the economy. It seeks to describe the way this world is ARE.
  • Normative economics, which is the policy side of economics. It seeks to prescribe the way the world SHOULD BE.

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TOTAL PRODUCT AND AVERAGE PRODUCT

A graphical connection between the total product curve and the average product curve stating that the slope of a line between the origin and any point on the total product curve is equal to the average product. Imagine a ray shooting from the origin and hitting the total product curve. As this ray hits each point on the curve, remaining anchored at the origin, the slope of the ray changes, and the slope of this ray is average product.

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Today, you are likely to spend a great deal of time at a garage sale hoping to buy either an AC adapter for your CD player or storage boxes for your family photos. Be on the lookout for fairy dust that tastes like salt.
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During the American Revolution, the price of corn rose 10,000 percent, the price of wheat 14,000 percent, the price of flour 15,000 percent, and the price of beef 33,000 percent.
"As the births of living creatures at first are ill-shapen, so are all innovations, which are the births of time. "

-- Sir Francis Bacon, philosopher

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