The United States of America

The United States of America is usually referred to as the United States or America. It is a federal republic on the continent of North America, which has 50 states. The U.S. includes Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, and the Virgin Islands as territories. America is bordered by Canada, the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, Mexico, and the Pacific Ocean. In America the basic unit of currency is the United States dollar. The U.S. decimal currency consists of paper money and coins. This currency is issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve System. The money issued by the Federal Reserve is called Federal Reserve notes.Almost all the money in the United States are Federal Reserve notes. The Treasury issues United States notes. These notes come in $100 denominations, as well as all coins.
Coins are made in six denominations—the penny, or 1˘; the nickel, or 5˘; the dime, or 10˘; the quarter, or 25˘; the half-dollar, or 50˘; and the dollar, or 100˘. Federal Reserve notes are also issued in six denominations—the $1 bill, $5 dollar bill, $10 bill, $20 bill, $50 bill, and $100 dollar bill. In 1969 Denominations of $500, $1000, $5000, and $10,000 bills were discontinued, and $2 bills were stopped in 1976; however, some of these notes remain in circulation.
Banks in the United States are chartered under the laws of either a state or the federal government. State-chartered banks are regulated by officials of the state in which they are located. National banks are under the supervision of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency In 1913 the Federal Reserve Act created the Federal Reserve System.The Federal Reserve is the central banking organization of the United States. By law, all national banks are required to belong to the Federal Reserve System. State banks may voluntarily become members if they meet certain requirements. Each member bank operates within 1 of the 12 Federal Reserve banks. In 1994, the bank holding companies with the most assetswere Citicorp, Chemical Banking Corporation, J.P. Morgan & Co. Incorporated, Chase Manhattan Corporation, and Bankers Trust New York Corporation, all based in New York City; BankAmerica Corporation, based in San Francisco; NationsBank Corporation and First Union Corporation, both with headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina; and Banc One Corporation, based in Columbus, Ohio. Of these, Citicorp was by far the largest, with assets valued at more than $221 billion.

In the United States most domestic commerceis carried on by wholesalers and retailers. Wholesalers are people who buy goods from producers and sell them to retail business firms. Retailers sell goods to the final consumer. Wholesale and retail trade together account for about 16 percent of annual GDP of the United States and employ about 20 percent of the labor force.

Wholesale Trade
In the early 1990s the United States had about 478,000 wholesale establishments, which together registered sales of more than $1.9 trillion. The distribution of groceries and related products, the leading type of wholesale business, had annual sales of about $290 billion, or some 15 percent of all wholesale activity. Next in rank were machinery, equipment, and supplies; motor-vehicle parts and supplies; professional and commercial equipment, and electrical goods.
Wholesalers tend to be located in large urban centers that enable them to distribute goods over wide sections of the nation. The New York City metropolitan area is the country\'s leading wholesale center; it serves as the national distribution center for a variety of goods and as the main regional center for the eastern United States. Other leading wholesale centers include Los Angeles, the main center for the western part of the United States; Chicago; San Francisco; Philadelphia; Houston; Dallas; and Atlanta.

Retail Trade
In the late 1980s the United States had over 1.5 million retail establishments with aggregate annual sales of nearly $2.1 trillion. Automotive dealers, with about 22 percent of the total yearly retail trade, and food stores, with about 19 percent, are the leading retailers. Other major types of retail business include those involving sales of clothing; meals and snacks; automotive fuels, lubricants, and supplies; lumber and other building materials; pharmaceuticals and cosmetics; and furniture and sleep equipment.
The volume of retail sales is directly related to the number of consumers in an area. The three leading