ECON 2020 Writing Assignment

the state I chose is New York

Learning Objectives

1.     To analyze a state’s macro economy, with special emphasis on gross state product, employment and unemployment, and cost of living.

2.     To become familiar with the sources and presentation of economic data.

3.     To practice writing brief business reports.



The most important indicators of macroeconomic health are output, employment, and inflation. In this writing assignment, you will analytically discuss each of these.


You will collect economic data describing these macroeconomic indicators for one state and prepare a 1.5-2 page typed evaluation.


Each student will choose a different state and you cannot choose Colorado. Identify your state in Canvas in Module 5 “State Selection.” Be sure to check that you are not choosing a state that has already been selected.


Academic Integrity

The report must represent your own work. Use APA style to footnote direct quotations (and, of course, put them in quotation marks) and indicate sources consulted for any information. If you have any doubts concerning what constitutes plagiarism, please consult with the professor. Using the same phrases that appear on a web site is plagiarism!  You MUST write in your own words!


Detailed Instructions

Macroeconomic Analysis Report:

·       Each section (1-4) should be 8-10 sentences


1.     Gross State Product (GSP), sometimes called GDP by state

a.     Define GSP

b.     List current level of real GSP (Hint: Be careful of units!)

c.      Calculate the 1-year change in both $ and % terms

d.     Discuss Is it increasing or decreasing? By how much? What are the industries that contribute the most to GSP in your state? What is GSP per capita? Compare all of these to Colorado. This is where you show me that you have thought critically about this indicator.


Data source

·       Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA): Regional data, GDP and personal income

o   Select Real GDP in chained dollars

o   Select all industries

o   Select your state

o   Select 2018

o   Use Q1 when reporting data. This is the most recent data from the first quarter (“Q1”) of 2018.


2. Employment (including employment, unemployment, and unemployment rate)

·       Define employed, unemployed, and the unemployment rate.

·       List the current, non-preliminary, levels of employment and unemployment and the unemployment rate

·       Calculate the 1-year change in the unemployment rate in levels (= number of people) and rate (= UR this year – UR last year)

·       Discuss Does this state have high employment or unemployment compared to Colorado? Compare the current unemployment rate to the unemployment rate 10 years ago. This is where you show me that you have thought critically about this indicator.


Data source 

·       Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):

o   On the far right of the webpage, select the green graph next to your state

o   Change output options to be from 2010 to 2018 – click go

o   Graphs will be near the top of the page, data table will be near the end of the page


3. Cost of living

The cost of living calculator is a useful tool to compare how much more or less you will have to earn to maintain your current standard of living. In this exercise, you are living in Denver earning $50,000. This is your “current” standard of living. You will use to compare this current standard of living to a city in the state you are analyzing.

·       Describe “cost of living?” How does it relate to inflation or the price level?

·       List the necessary comparable salary for a major city in your state compared to a $50,000 in Denver, Colorado (i.e., “I live in Denver, CO. I want to live in City, State”). Why did you pick that city? Does the cost of living vary across your state?

·       Discuss Which items are more or less expensive between these states? Why do you think these items would be more or less expensive? This is where you show me that you have thought critically about this indicator.


4. Evaluation:

Do you think your state has a “healthy” macroeconomy? Discuss.




The project will be graded out of 100 possible points distributed as follows:


  60 points        A correct and adequate explanation of each of the data (Parts 1-3) must appear in the Macroeconomic Analysis Report. Answering all prompts is essential.


20 points        The report must end with a concluding paragraph that provides an overall evaluation of the economic condition of the macroeconomy (Part 4).  This requires stating a clear evaluation of the economy and providing logical support for this conclusion based on evidence previously presented in the report.


  20 points        The report must follow the format described and be written in standard English. The report must be single spaced and typed. It must be formatted in a way that is easy to read and looks professional. You are expected to use correct grammar, punctuation, and capitalization. The report must be written using paragraphs and complete sentences. You must cite all sources using APA style.

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