Insights / Chart

U.S. Real GDP Per Capita (1900 – 2017): Current Economy vs Historical Trend Line

Source: BFI Working Paper No. 2018-26, “Technology and Skill: Twin Engines of Growth,” by Nancy Stokey, UChicago professor of economics
U.S. Real GDP Per Capita (1900 - 2017)
Source: Data from 1929 to 2017 is from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). Data from 1900 to 1928 is adapted from the 2018 Maddison Project Database.

Per capita GDP growth has mostly returned to trend since the Great Recession, but the economy has not recaptured the lost years in terms of levels. The economy is improving but it has not caught up to the historical trend line; following previous downturns, including the Great Depression of the 1930s, the economy eventually returned to historical trends.