This chapter shows how some of the most accessible American statistics can be used to describe and explain the development of the American economy since the war. It presents the fluctuations in economic activity as revealed by the index of industrial production and the quarterly constant price national income statistics. The chapter discusses the fluctuations in relation to the political and other economic events of the times, and also in relation to the long-term growth in American economic activity. Military expenditures and foreign aid rose from late 1947 to mid-1949; other Government expenditures—particularly state and local —were rising from early 1947 to late 1949; after that Government expenditures fell until mid-1950. Stringent monetary policies during most of 1957 accentuated these fundamental forces. The 'peaceful boom' and its subsequent contraction thus take on a classic appearance. The United Kingdom unemployment statistics are based upon the numbers of people who register at employment exchanges for work.