What is a 'Macroeconomic Factor'?

A macroeconomic factor is one that is related to the broad economy at the regional or national level and affects a large population rather than a few select individuals. Examples of macroeconomic factors are economic output, unemployment, inflation, savings, and investments, and they are key indicators of economic performance that are closely monitored by governments, businesses and consumers.

BREAKING DOWN 'Macroeconomic Factor'

The relationships between various macroeconomic factors are extensively studied in the field of macroeconomics. While macroeconomics is concerned with the economy as a whole, microeconomics is concerned with the study of individual agents, such as consumers and businesses and their economic decision making.

A macroeconomic factor can include anything that influences the direction of a particular large-scale market; for example, fiscal policy and various regulations can impact the economy of a state or nation and can even have international implications. Not all macroeconomic factors are negative; some promote economic growth.

Negative Macroeconomic Factors

Negative macroeconomic factors include events that may put a national or international economy in jeopardy. A sense of political instability caused by a nation’s involvement in either civil or international wars will cause economic turbulence. This turbulence could be due to the reallocation of resources, which is common in war-time economies, or it could be caused by damage to property, assets and livelihoods.

Unanticipated events, such as the debt crisis that began in 2008 within the United States and had cascading implications across the globe, would qualify as a macroeconomic factor along with significant national disasters such as earthquakes, tornadoes and flooding.

Neutral Macroeconomic Factors

Certain economic shifts are neither positive nor negative. Instead, the exact implications are determined by the intent of the action. This can include trade regulation across state or national borders. The nature of the change, such as enacting or rescinding a trade embargo, will have a variety of effects depending on which economy is being examined.

Positive Macroeconomic Factors

Positive macroeconomic factors include events that lead to prosperity within a nation or multiple nations. For example, a decrease in fuel prices within the United States might drive consumers to purchase more retail goods and services. As the demand for goods and services increases, suppliers of those items, both nationally and internationally, will see increased revenue from the heightened consumer activity. In turn, these increased profits may cause an increase in stock prices.

Macroeconomic Factor Cycle

Economies are often cyclic at the macroeconomic level. As positive influences lead to prosperity, this may raise certain prices due to increased demand. Higher prices might then suppress the economy as households become more restrictive of their spending. As supply begins to outweigh demand, prices may again dip, leading to additional prosperity until the next shift in economic supply and demand.

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