March 23, 2018 

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CIVILIAN LABOR FORCE: Everyone in the economy, 16 years of age or older, who is neither institutionalized nor in the military, and is either employed or unemployed but actively seeking employment. The civilian labor force is the "official" specification for the national economy's labor supply. It is used for such calculations as the unemployment rate and the labor force participation rate. In particular, the unemployment rate is technically specified as the "percent of the civilian labor force that is unemployed." The size of the civilian labor force (along with the wildly popular unemployment rate) is estimated monthly by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) from data generated by the Current Population Survey (CPS).

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VOLUNTARY EXCHANGE: The process of willingly trading one item for another. The emphasis here is on "willingly." Voluntary exchanges are the heart and soul of market transactions, and should be contrasted with the "involuntary" exchanges mandated by government taxes, laws, and regulations. While involuntary government-forced exchanges play an important role in a mixed economy, economists really, really like voluntary market exchanges because they promote economic efficiency.

     See also | exchange | market | price | involuntary exchange | government | taxes | regulation | government functions | mixed economy |

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The total expenditures on gross domestic product undertaken in a given time period by the four sectors--household, business, government, and foreign. Expenditures made by each of these sectors are commonly termed consumption expenditures, investment expenditures, government purchases, and net exports. Aggregate expenditures (AE) are a cornerstone in the study of macroeconomics, playing critical roles in Keynesian economics, aggregate market analysis, and to a lesser degree, monetarism. In particular, aggregate expenditures are combined with the price level as aggregate demand.

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