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TOP 5 ECONOMIC STORIES OF 2019 What Were the top stories relating to economics in 2019?

In the final year of the decade, 2019 provided a number of key stories relating to economics. We've narrowed down the list to the five most impactful, leading into the new decade and 2020.

5. The Hong Kong Protests

More than seven months and with no signs of slowing down, the protests in Hong Kong have caused major ripple effects throughout the economy. The protests, along with trade tensions between the U.S. and China, have sent the Hong Kong economy into a recession.To understand the cause of the protests, click on this summary by the BBC.

The Hong Kong protests began in June against proposed plans to allow extradition to mainland China.

CNBC reports that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Hong Kong is expected to fall 2.9% in 2019 and 5.8% in 2020. With protests earlier this summer forcing the shutdown of Hong Kong International Airport, aviation experts estimate that the city has suffered $76 million in losses from flight cancellations with tourism in decline for the city.

4. Increase in Streaming Competition

How many streaming video services did you pay for in 2019? Forbes reports that the average American household subscribed to 3.4 services in 2019, as more and more platforms came available. Forbes projects that 40.2 million American households will have eliminated their TV subscriptions by the end of 2019, compared to 86.5 million people who will still have their TV subscribers.

With more players such as Apple TV+ and Disney+ being added in 2019, more players are being added to the market for consumers to watch.

More players came into the fold in 2019, joining the likes of Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Sling TV and YouTube TV in competing for subscribers. Apple launched Apple TV+ in November, producing their own content. Disney+ also launched in November 2019, gaining 10 million subscribers according to The Wall Street Journal. New digital subscription services will make their debut in 2020, including HBO Max, NBCUniversal's Peacock, and a Discovery/BBC platform.

3. Trade Tensions

The two largest economies in the world -- the United States and China -- are in a months' long trade dispute. President Donald Trump has accused China of unfair trade practices, while China sees the United States trying to disrupt its rise to an economic power. The trade dispute has seen both countries levy tariffs on each other's goods. For more information, read the BBC's guide to the tensions.

The United States and China have escalated over the last 18 months, impacting a number of industries including agriculture and manufacturing.

According to the BBC's report, the Trump administration has levied tariffs on more than $360 billion in Chinese goods, while China responded with more than $110 billion in tariffs on American goods. While negotiations have proven difficult, The Wall Street Journal reported in December that the two countries agreed to a limited deal.

2. Brexit

Britain is scheduled to leave the European Union January 31, 2020 pending approval from the English Parliament. The departure is set to take place more than three years after the public voted to leave the EU, as Britain will become the first member state to withdraw from the EU. For more information, read the BBC's summary.

Britain's departure from the European Union is set to take place Jan. 31, 2020.

Boris Johnson took over as Prime Minister in July 2019, helping to negotiate a deal to lead Britain out of the EU. In Johnson's revised deal, which was agreed upon Dec. 20, 2019, a customs border will be created between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

1. The Strength of the U.S. Economy

The United States economy remains very strong with the longest economic expansion ever recorded despite a weakening global economy. That includes the stock market with all three major indexes along the New York Stock Exchange, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ, having surpassed all-time highs in 2019. For more information on the success of the markets, read The Wall Street Journal synopsis from the NASDAQ crossing the 9000 threshold.

The United States economy remains very strong with the longest period of economic expansion ever recorded.

In addition to the bull market, unemployment is at a 50-year low with November's unemployment rate being 3.5% -- the lowest since December 1969. Economic growth continues at a 2.1% clip, compared to increases of 3.1% in the first quarter and 2.0% in the second quarter. For a complete rundown on the latest of the U.S. economy, check out our November issue of State of the Economy.

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Todd Lindenmuth
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All photos provided by iStock.