The Economist’s Toolbox
In This Chapter
• Understanding economic data
• How to read charts and graphs
• Pitfalls to avoid in the economic news
Virtually all aspects of economic activity can be measured, and most of them are. As you’ve seen, consumer spending, business investment, government expenditures, exports, and imports are all counted. So are the number of houses under construction, automobiles sold, people looking for work, and people who already have work. Economists monitor the levels of income, debt, and prices, and even the way consumers feel about the future of the economy.
All of this information helps people understand the economy—even people who aren’t economists. For instance, say you want to buy a house and ...