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10 Reasons Why 2014 Was The Best Year For The U.S. Economy Since The Great Recession

Not great, but definitely better. Here's some good economic news for the yuletide.

Posted on December 24, 2014, at 2:59 p.m. ET

Ricardo Moraes / Reuters

1. The economy hasn't grown this fast in a decade.

Department of Commerce

The economy grew at a 5% annual rate in the third quarter, coming off 4.6% growth in the second quarter, driven by increases in business investment, consumer spending, and defense spending.

Yuya Shino / Reuters

2. And new jobs are being created at the fastest rate since the financial crisis. In 2014, an average of 241,000 new jobs were created every month, compared to 194,000 a month in 2013.

Bureau of Labor Statistics
Kim Kyung-Hoon / Reuters

3. Jobless claims — a measure of new unemployment claims — also plummeted to 280,000 in the week of Dec. 20, down from 339,000 a year ago.

Bureau of Labor Statistics
Wolfgang Rattay / Reuters

4. With all this job growth, the unemployment rate fell under 6% for the first time since July 2008 in September. Right now it's sitting at 5.8%.

Bureau of Labor Statistics
Larry Downing / Reuters

5. One big boost to American consumers, especially in the last few months, has been a crash in the price of oil, from a high of over $100 in June to around $55 today.

Bloomberg

6. This has meant an epochal decline in gas prices. A year ago, according to AAA, the average price for regular gas was $3.26, now it's $2.35, a decline of almost 28%.

Stringer / Reuters

7. U.S. industry sped up its growth and output in 2014, with the industrial production index, a measure of the output of factories, utilities, and mines, shooting up towards the end of the year.

Federal Reserve

8. Consumers are feeling better too. The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index has been on the rise all year.

Bloomberg
Fabrizio Bensch / Reuters

9. Even the stock market, after rising 33% in 2013, continued to rise 12.6% so far this year, even after some gyrations in the fall.

Bloomberg

10. And IPOs hit a post-1990s high. According to Renaissance Capital, 273 companies went public in the US, raising a total of $85 billion, up 55% from 2013. The biggest by far was the IPO of Chinese internet giant Alibaba, which raised almost $22 billion.

Alibaba founder Jack Ma gestures during a celebration of the 10th anniversary of Taobao Marketplace. The company's IPO in New York this year was one of the biggest in history.
Lucas Jackson / Reuters

Alibaba founder Jack Ma gestures during a celebration of the 10th anniversary of Taobao Marketplace. The company's IPO in New York this year was one of the biggest in history.

BRING IT, 2015!

Fabian Bimmer / Reuters

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