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U

U.S. Savings Bonds

Securities issued by the U.S. Treasury in relatively small denominations for individual investors. Investors who buy U.S. Savings Bonds in effect make a loan to the government, in return for the government's promise (represented by the bond, a nontransferable debt certificate) to repay the loan with interest. The interest is free from state and local taxation. U.S. Savings Bonds are considered to be risk-free investments, since they are backed by the U.S. government.

Unemployment

The number of people without jobs who are actively seeking work.

Unemployment Rate

The number of unemployed people, expressed as a percentage of the labor force.

Unintended Consequences

The unexpected and unplanned results of a decision or action.

Unit Pricing

The cost per unit of measurement. A way for consumers to compare the costs of different sizes of the same item.

Unplanned Spending

Impulsive use of money with little or no consideration of alternatives and resulting in unplanned consequences.

Unsecured Debt

Debt without collateral; credit card debt, for example.

Usury Law

A law which establishes a maximum permissible interest rate for a particular type of loan. Loans at rates above the usury ceiling are illegal.

Utility

An abstract measure of the satisfaction consumers derive from consuming goods and services.