USA Country Guide

by Jose Marc Castro on August 4, 2009

USflagIMAGE200The United State of America (USA) is one of the powerhouses of the world, having influenced many countries around the world.  A leader in fashion, a leader in industry and a leader in military action, the USA has remained in the forefront of worldwide leading events in the past century. The United States of America has also become the acclaimed melting pot of cultures, the land of milk and honey and home of the all-powerful greenback.

Often denounced as a projectionist country, the welfare and rights of Americans are enshrined in the make up of the country.  At over 9.6 million square km, the USA is one of the top three countries in terms of landmass, but to many it is the number one by economic power.  Such is the size of the country that different states are often caught up in different time zones, and a trek across the country can be a long, long adventure.

While English is the national language of the USA, the country has a mass of different ethical groups with Spanish making up a particularly large section of society.  There are also fairly large South American and Canadian contingents, due to the very close trade and political relationships with the two areas.  The variation on the landscape and temperatures is nearly as varied as the range of ethical groups, with glacial backdrops set against the many desert areas of the USA.

The visa system in the USA is a little more complicated than most (commonly referred to as the “Green Card”) and the situation has been tightened yet further as the authorities continue their campaign against terrorism.  As mentioned above the country is very protective of the rights of natural born Americans, and immigrants must have the correct documentation, and be able to offer something which is not freely available in the country.

Expats wanting to live in America should take the time to study the immigration policy of the USA, as this can change on a fairly regular basis.  In the past, immigration has been simple for many, but those days have gone and it can prove very difficult to obtain permanent residency in the country.

Contents: Economy in the USAProspects in the USAUS Key Facts

Economy in the USA

The USA has a unique position in the market of world trade, having such an influence on many other developed and undeveloped nations of the world.  From the long-standing relationships with Canada and South America, to the special relationships with the like of Great Britain and other areas of Europe, the influence of the USA is spread far and wide.

The continuing success of the USA economy is based upon a number of factors including, an abundance of natural resources, an excellent work ethic, a growing service sector and a state of the art transport network.  While the free market economy is prospering within the USA, a massive 36% of economic output is related to the public sector (government departments).  This has resulted in a degree of employment security not seen by many in Europe, and while unemployment can vary widely from state to state, the country average is currently running in the region of 4.5%.

The American economy is currently in a recession stage, with the housing sector in particular showing massive decline and foreclosures.  However, there is hope that the economy is heading for a sharp “correction” in the short term and recovery is just around the corner.  Even though this has been dismissed by many government and independent observers, there is no doubt that the rate of growth will pick up in the near future/

The country does not necessarily specialize in a small group of industries, and has exposure to most areas of business from agriculture to defense, from finance to inventions – the country has it all.  It would therefore come as no surprise to hear the economy of the USA can often lead the worldwide economy into and out of recessionary periods – the influence is that strong. The Unites States is currently in the midst of a great recession, with some likening it to the crash of 1929. Its sheer size though has made it battered but not beaten and is well on its way to recovery.

The tax regime in the US is broadly in line with that of many developed countries with corporation tax in the region of 35%, and personal taxes applied on a sliding scale between 0% and 35% of income.  The welfare system is not as strong as places such as Great Britain, and extra insurance and protection may be required to pay for healthcare and similar services.

Prospects in the USA

For those lucky enough to have their applications for permanent residency approved, the USA really does have an awful lot to offer.  An economy that influence the world economy, a trade program which is second to none and a level of protectionism within the country never seen before in a developed country.

The government is currently in the middle of a massive campaign for economic recovery as billions have tax dollars have been plowed into industries to keep the economy afloat. Amongst these sectors are the financial sector and many others that have benefited from government action.  This is predominantly as a consequence of the economic wealth of the country being unevenly spread, and while the likes of Manhattan represent the American economic boom, there are numerous areas deprived of real inward investment. The greatest aspect of the bailout was due to speculation on the mortgage property securities and the prospects for recovery is still an uphill climb for the economy.

The USA really does have everything, and you could live in the country for decades and still not appreciate the variations in life styles and economic wealth throughout the land.  The USA is most definitely one long adventure, but there is the opportunity for all to prosper and be successful. This was captured in a post at the America Expat Forum last September 1, 2009:

Yes, the job does has the incentive – the salary is already way above what you could expect in the UK. Our standard of living, with all things considered will be much better. The company that my husband works for is pretty stable right now – I think that is the only reason why we are prepared to do this, in the current economic climate. The potential for promotion with a salary that reflects the responsibility that it brings seems to be better over there.

In the long term, we would like to move closer to his brother in Texas – there is an office there, but no openings right now. So, that is a bit of a long term plan at this point. I was an RGN up until 3 years ago and planning a psychology degree in order that I can open up future employment possibilities. The thing is, we had almost decided on our ‘plan B’ which was to sit tight in the UK, move closer to his parents – allowing me to study with the support of family. Of course, once we had come to terms with that – we get an e-mail tantalising us with the possibility of a job in VA.

But, in answer to your question, ultimately we see this as a potential opportunity to move nearer family in Texas over there once we are established. Certainly there is a possibility for movement within the company from state to state once we are there.

The nerves come from considering an area that we had not really thought through before – and after all of the applications it is the only one that has shown any promise!

US Key Facts:

Bordered by Canada and Mexico

Food: Spanish to more traditional European cuisine

Temperature: Sub zero in the north to desert conditions in the south

Industries: Finance, automobiles – basically too many to mention!

Education:  12 years of compulsory education

Health: Life expectancy 77 years

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: