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A growth rate measures the percentage increase in the value of a variety of markets, companies, or operations.
For example, a stock research firm typically tracks the rate at which a company's sales and earnings have grown as one of the factors in evaluating whether to recommend that investors purchase, hold, or sell its shares.
Similarly, the rate at which the gross domestic product grows is a measure of the strength of the US economy.
If you want to compare the vigor of entities or elements of different sizes, it's more accurate to look at growth rate than it is to look at the actual numerical change in value. For example, an emerging market might be growing at a much faster rate than a developed one even though the size of those economies is vastly different.