Oil Prices’ Impact on Economic Growth
Since 2008, the U.S. has seen one of the slowest recoveries from a recession since the Great Depression. Never before since World War II has either inflation adjusted GDP or unemployment rate been below where it was four years after a recession began. Our economy in this recovery could have grown and created jobs at the average rate like the 10 previous postwar recessions. GDP per person could be $4,528 higher and 14 million more Americans would be working today (Gramm and Solon). Economists claim that the lack of strength in the recovery was due to the depth of the recession and underestimating the severity of the economic disaster. Another speculation is that the financial crisis, by the very nature is a much slower and more difficult recovery. A recession is generally defined as a decline in GDP growth in a six-month period. So what can keep the GDP, or the value of all consumed goods, from returning to a healthy economic state?
Oil is a primary source of energy we use everyday. The more oil we use, the faster the economy grows. Over the last forty years, a 1 percent hit to the world oil consumption has led to a 2 percent increase in GDP. That means if GDP increased 4 percent a year, like before 2008, oil consumption was increasing by 2 percent a year (Anandan, Ramaswamy, and Sridhar). Statistically, in 2006 figures display that the average oil price was $67.65 per barrel. In 2008 when the recession hit, the average oil price was $99.08 per barrel. And 2013, post-recession era, figures show that the average oil price was $91.55 per barrel (McMahon). This shows that in the post-recession era oil prices have been higher than pre-recession era’s oil prices. It also shows that the highest oil prices were when the recession hit. What all these numbers mean is that there is a direct correlation between oil prices and GDP growth.
Understanding why oil prices rise is an important tool to figuring out how they influence...