By researching and analyzing each economic indicator and sharing their results, students develop a sense of how to analyze economic recovery.
How do we know when the economy is recovering?
What key indicators do economists and politicians use to judge the health of our economic system?
Students use New York Times resources to analyze economic recovery by investigating and charting the current state of key economic indicators like household income and unemployment.
Lesson plan for how to analyze economic recovery:
Materials | Student journals, computers with Internet access, scientific or graphing calculators, graph paper.
Warm-Up | Tell students to write down in their journals some examples of how they can tell when economic times are tough. Ideas might include closed stores in their neighborhoods, higher prices for things they want or need or friends or relatives who are out of work or struggling to find jobs.
Next, tell them to analyze economic recovery by writing down some ways they can tell when the economy is getting better. These could include new stores opening, friends and relatives finding jobs, new family outings and the like.
Invite students to share ideas, and write them on the board. Ask: What signs do you think economists and politicians look for in order to identify an economic recovery?
Show students the infographic “Where the Comeback Has and Hasn’t Taken Hold,” which displays data on key economic indicators like household income, net worth, employment, consumer confidence and housing prices.
Have the students compare their personal observations with these broad economic indicators and classify those personal indicators with the appropriate economic indicator.
Ask: Which of these key indicators do you think are most important in determining if our economy is improving? Do you believe we are currently in recovery? Explain that today they will explore these questions more deeply by conducting research and analyzing these key economic indicators.