The US economy is inarguably in a better position today than it was at the onset of the Great Recession. Anyone who believes otherwise is an ideologue and/or doesn’t have a rudimentary understanding of micro, macro, and international economics 101. Virtually all economic indices demonstrate that the American economy has recovered and is retooled for dynamic economic growth. The failure of other states to keep up with the United States economic recovery is what will limit the American economy more than anything. Could it be better? Of course. But it’s hardly the fire and brimstone that (non-economists) contend. For all of the myriad problems that face humanity, we still live in a golden age.
Top economists’ take on the US economy at the recent Economic Association’s annual conference.
Harvard University economist and former chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers under President Ronald Reagan
“The U.S. economy is now in very good shape. We’re essentially at full employment, with the overall unemployment rate at 5%, and the unemployment rate among college graduates a remarkably low 2.5%….Looking ahead, the growth of GDP in 2016 will be limited by the absence of excess capacity in the economy rather than by a lack of demand….The primary risk to the U.S. economy in the coming year is probably the mispricing of assets and the provision of high-risk loans, both of which are the result from excessive reaching for yield by investors and lenders because of the very low interest rates at all maturities that have prevailed in recent years.”
Joseph E. Stiglitz
Columbia University economist and former chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers under President Bill Clinton
“I think there is a problem of underlying aggregate demand, that the headline unemployment rate disguises a lot of unemployment and that while it is very good news…there is essentially full employment of college graduates, there are large parts of the American labor market that [are] underemployed or unemployed. And that’s reflected in inflation, inflationary pressures, and one of the reasons wages have been doing so poorly.”
President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland
“The economy has made substantial progress toward the Fed’s goals of maximum employment and price stability—enough progress that in December the [rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee] moved its target federal funds rate up by 25 basis points from essentially zero, where it had stood for seven years. Even with this increase, monetary policy is expected to remain accommodative for some time to come and will continue to support the expansion. I believe this first step on a gradual path toward more normal policy should be viewed as welcome news. It is an indication of monetary policy makers’ confidence that the economic progress we have seen in recent years will continue.”
University of Michigan economist and former member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers under President Barack Obama
“It’s much harder to achieve sustained economic growth over 3% with declining labor-force participation….Nearly one in five prime-age adults are sitting on the sidelines today and not participating….That points out just how the unemployment rate, the 5% unemployment rate—while it’s a terrific victory in terms of recovery from the recession—it is only a small slice of the underutilized talent in the economy.”