Since the 1980s, the US economics has witnessed a number of changes, as the country has transformed gradually from being the largest creditor in the world to possessing a current account deficit and national debt that has reached the highest level since World War II.
Speaking about the structure of the US economy, we should point out three basic ingredients, namely natural resources, labor and manufacturing and investment. The country boasts superb location, which results in the extensive coastline on the Pacific and the Atlantic Ocean and on the Gulf of Mexico. Rivers abound, flowing within the continent, while five inland lakes along the border with Canada, known as the Great Lakes, provide wonderful shipping access. Such significant waterways have played vital role in shaping the US economic growth over the centuries, and assisted in binding fifty individual states of the country together in a single unit.
Another basic ingredient of the US economics is labor. In this aspect, the proper functioning of an economy is determined by number of available workers and their productivity. Throughout its history, the country has experienced continuous growth in labor force, which in turn, helped fuel economic expansion. The vast majority of workers coming to the United States in the years following the World War II were immigrants from Europe. A great number of Latin Americans immigrated in the early 20th century, followed by Asians and Africans. The labor mobility has been of vital importance to the US economics' capacity to adapt to constantly changing conditions. As labor markets on the East Coast were flooded by immigrants, a great number of workers had to move inland. In a similar way, economic opportunities in northern cities of the country attracted Afro-Americans from southern farms.
Finally, we should mention manufacturing and investment as basic constituents of US economics. In the United States, the corporation was established primarily as an association of stakeholders forming an enterprise that is governed by a set of customs and rules. Through stock market American investors and banks have contributed to the growth of their economy by withdrawing capital from major profitable corporations. Currently these corporations and investors exert immense influence all over the world. The national governments have also invested in the US economics in such areas as military contracts during war and providing cheap electricity.
The United States has a mixed economy, as both government and privately owned businesses are regarded as important players. Emphasized by the American free enterprise system is private ownership, with private businesses producing today most services and goods. Nearly 2/3 of the total economic output in the nation goes to individuals for personal use, while the remaining 1/3 is purchased by business and government.
The role of the consumer is vitally important, so that the country is frequently characterized as having the consumer economy. However, there are some limits to private ownership and free enterprise, and Americans agree that public enterprises perform some services better that private ones.