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TRADING BLOC: A group of countries that are economically intertwined, share some common cultural background, are located close together, and coordinate their foreign trade policies. There are three trading blocs of note, North America, Europe, and Asia, although other portions of the globe aspire to this status. The North American bloc centers around the good old U. S. of A. with Canada and Mexico playing increasingly important roles. The European bloc contains most of the Western Europe with leading roles played by Germany, Britain, and France. Japan is the center of the Asian bloc that includes Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and several others.

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JOBLESS CLAIMS: The number of people filing for the first time to receive unemployment compensation benefits during a given time period, usually one week. Jobless claims are key indicator of current economic activity and are one of twelve leading economic indicators that forecast business cycle activity. A rise in jobless claims is a clear indication that fewer people are employed, the unemployment rate is on the rise, and the economy is headed into a contraction.

     See also | unemployment compensation | business cycle | leading economic indicator | unemployment rate | contraction |


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GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT

The total market value of all final goods and services produced within the political boundaries of an economy during a given period of time, usually one year. This is the official measure of the aggregate output produced by the economy. It is tabulated and reported by the National Income and Product Accounts maintained by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, which is part of the U. S. Department of Commerce. Gross domestic product, often abbreviated simply as GDP, is one of several measures reported regularly (quarterly and annually) by the number crunchers at the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Other common measures include net domestic product, national income, personal income, and disposable income. GDP has replaced gross national product (GNP), in most official discussion of aggregate economic production.

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Today, you are likely to spend a great deal of time looking for the new strip mall out on the highway looking to buy either a birthday gift for your aunt or a pair of leather sandals that won't cause blisters. Be on the lookout for florescent light bulbs that hum folk songs from the sixties.
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