Comparing the Speed of U.S. Interest Rate Hikes
After the latest rate hike on May 3rd, U.S. interest rates have reached levels not seen since 2007. The Federal Reserve has been aggressive with its interest rate hikes as it tries to combat sticky inflation. In fact, rates have risen nearly five percentage points (p.p.) in just 14 months.
In this graphic—inspired by a chart from Chartr—we compare both the speed and severity of current interest rate hikes to other periods of monetary tightening over the past 35 years.
Measuring Periods of Interest Rate Hikes
We measured rate hike cycles with the effective federal funds rate (EFFR), which calculates the weighted average of the rates that banks use to lend to each other overnight. It is determined by the market but influenced by the Fed’s target range. We considered the starting point for each cycle to be the EFFR during the month when the first rate hike took place.
Here is the duration and severity of each interest rate hike cycle since 1988.
|Time Period||Duration |
|Total Change in EFFR
|Mar 1988 - May 1989||14||+3.23|
|Feb 1994 - Feb 1995||12||+2.67|
|Jun 1999 - May 2000||11||+1.51|
|Jun 2004 - Jun 2006||24||+3.96|
|Dec 2015 - Dec 2018||36||+2.03|
|Mar 2022 - May 2023*||14||+4.88|
*We considered a rate hike cycle to be any time period when the Federal Reserve raised rates at two or more consecutive meetings. The 2022-2023 rate hike cycle is ongoing, with the latest hike made on May 4, 2023.
When we last compared the speed of interest rate hikes in September 2022, the current cycle was the fastest but not the most severe. In the months since, the total rate change of 4.88 p.p. has surpassed that of the ‘04-‘06 rate hike cycle. During the ‘04-‘06 cycle, the Federal Reserve eventually decided to pause hikes due to moderate economic growth and contained inflation expectations.
On the other end of the scale, the slowest rate hike cycle occurred in ‘15-‘18 after the Global Financial Crisis. Inflation, as measured by the Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) Index, was a mere 0.30% when the first hike occurred. Meeting transcripts reveal that Federal Reserve officials were concerned they may be raising rates too early. However, they agreed to the small quarter percentage point increase to show unity with Fed Chair Janet Yellen, who believed rising oil prices would eventually lead to higher inflation.
End of a Cycle?
The Federal Reserve’s small quarter-point rate hike on May 3 was influenced by a variety of factors. Below is a look at how select indicators have shifted since the first hike occurred in March 2022.
|March 2022||March 2023|
|Annual Growth in Labor Costs||4.5%||4.8%|
|Inflation-Adjusted Growth in Labor Costs||-3.7%||-0.2%|
|Annualized GDP Growth||7.0%||1.1%|
|Over-the-Month Change in Employment|
(Revised data post-rate hike decision in brackets)
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Economic Analysis. Inflation is measured by the Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) Index. GDP growth for March 2022 is for Q4 2021, which is the data the Fed would have had access to when making its first rate hike decision. Employment has since grown by 253,000 in April 2023.
The unemployment rate remains low and job growth remains positive. Labor costs, in terms of wages and benefits, continue to grow. However, they are essentially flat on an inflation-adjusted basis. Inflation is still above the Federal Reserve’s 2% target, but it has slowed over the past year.
There are also reasons to be cautious. Economic growth has slowed considerably, and the Federal Reserve predicted in March of this year that a “mild recession” would begin later in 2023. Turbulence in the banking sector is also cause for concern, as tighter credit conditions will likely weigh on economic activity.
For now, it seems the Fed may have pressed pause on future interest rate hikes. Its latest statement said it would “determine the extent to which additional policy firming may be appropriate” rather than previous statements which anticipated future hikes.
Visualizing U.S. GDP by Industry in 2023
Services-producing industries account for the majority of U.S. GDP in 2023, followed by other private industries and the government.
Visualizing U.S. GDP by Industry
The U.S. economy is like a giant machine driven by many different industries, each one akin to an essential cog that moves the whole.
Understanding the breakdown of national gross domestic product (GDP) by industry shows where commercial activity is bustling and how diverse the economy truly is.
The above infographic uses data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis to visualize a breakdown of U.S. GDP by industry in 2023. To show this, we use value added by industry, which reflects the difference between gross output and the cost of intermediate inputs.
The Top 10 U.S. Industries by GDP
As of Q1 2023, the annualized GDP of the U.S. sits at $26.5 trillion.
Of this, 88% or $23.5 trillion comes from private industries. The remaining $3 trillion is government spending at the federal, state, and local levels.
Here’s a look at the largest private industries by economic contribution in the United States:
|Industry||Annualized Nominal GDP |
(as of Q1 2023)
|% of U.S. GDP|
|Professional and business services||$3.5T||13%|
|Real estate, rental, and leasing||$3.3T||12%|
|Educational services, health care, and social assistance||$2.3T||9%|
|Finance and insurance||$2.0T||8%|
|Arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, and food services||$1.2T||4%|
|Other private industries||$2.6T||10%|
Like most other developed nations, the U.S. economy is largely based on services.
Service-based industries, including professional and business services, real estate, finance, and health care, make up the bulk (70%) of U.S. GDP. In comparison, goods-producing industries like agriculture, manufacturing, mining, and construction play a smaller role.
Professional and business services is the largest industry with $3.5 trillion in value added. It comprises establishments providing legal, consulting, design, administration, and other services. This is followed by real estate at $3.3 trillion, which has consistently been an integral part of the economy.
Due to outsourcing and other factors, the manufacturing industry’s share of GDP has been declining for decades, but it still remains a significant part of the economy. Manufacturing of durable goods (metals, machines, computers) accounts for $1.6 trillion in value added, alongside nondurable goods (food, petroleum, chemicals) at $1.3 trillion.
The Government’s Contribution to GDP
Just like private industries, the government’s value added to GDP consists of compensation of employees, taxes collected (less subsidies), and gross operating surplus.
|Government||Annualized Nominal GDP |
(as of Q1 2023)
|% of U.S. GDP|
|State and Local||$2.1T||8%|
Figures may not add up to the total due to rounding.
State and local government spending, largely focused on the education and public welfare sectors, accounts for the bulk of value added. The Federal contribution to GDP amounts to roughly $948 billion, with 52% of it attributed to national defense.
The Fastest Growing Industries (2022–2032P)
In the next 10 years, services-producing industries are projected to see the fastest growth in output.
The table below shows the five fastest-growing industries in the U.S. from 2022–2032 in terms of total output, based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
|Industry||Sector||Compound Annual Rate of Output Growth (2022–2032P)|
|Computing infrastructure providers, data processing, and related services||Information||3.9%|
|Wireless telecommunications carriers (except satellite)||Information||3.6%|
|Home health care services||Health care and social assistance||3.6%|
|Oil and gas extraction||Mining||3.5%|
Three of the fastest-growing industries are in the information sector, underscoring the growing role of technology and digital infrastructure. Meanwhile, the projected growth of the oil and gas extraction industry highlights the enduring demand for traditional energy sources, despite the energy transition.
Overall, the development of these industries suggests that the U.S. will continue its shift toward a services-oriented economy. But today, it’s also worth noticing how services- and goods-producing industries are increasingly tied together. For example, it’s now common for tech companies to produce devices, and for manufacturers to use software in their operations.
Therefore, the oncoming tide of growth in service-based industries could potentially lift other interconnected sectors of the diverse U.S. economy.
GDP7 days ago
Visualizing U.S. GDP by Industry in 2023
Brands2 weeks ago
Ranked: Fast Food Brands with the Most U.S. Locations
Markets2 weeks ago
Visualizing 30 Years of Imports from U.S. Trading Partners
Markets2 weeks ago
Ranked: The Biggest Retailers in the U.S. by Revenue
Globalization2 weeks ago
The Top 50 Largest Importers in the World
Maps1 week ago
Mapped: Which Countries Recognize Israel or Palestine, or Both?
Education1 week ago
Ranked: America’s Best Universities
Countries1 week ago
Ranked: Share of Global Arms Imports in 2022