The financial-services industry gave a big hand to the American economy last year, which registered real GDP growth of 3.5 percent. According to findings released in April by the Bureau of Economic Analysis of the U.S. Department of Commerce, the financial, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing (FIRE) industry group contributed nearly a quarter (24 percent) of real GDP growth in 2005, making it the leading contributor to GDP for the past three consecutive years.
And within FIRE, it was the financial-services and insurance sectors that played the biggest part. The growth of the real estate, rental and leasing sectors slowed to 2.5 percent for the year, down from 5.6 percent in 2004. But this decline was more than offset by explosive growth in finance and insurance of 6.7 percent in 2005, up from 1.0 percent in 2004.
“The securities industry is an economic powerhouse that continues to strengthen the U.S. economy,” said Securities Industry Association President Marc Lackritz. “SIA data shows that last year alone, we raised a record $3.2 trillion of capital for American business and nearly $14 trillion over the past five, underscoring our substantial contribution to overall growth in the U.S. economy.”