In listening to NPR this morning, with various discussions of how the economy and slow job growth is turning around to bite incumbents on the hindquarters, I couldn’t also help but think that while stimulus efforts did pour unthinkable amounts of money into banking and infrastructure they sure didn’t pump up job-creation much, if at all. The vicious cycle that persists is that our economy is driven by consumer spending, but that spending remains depressed while unemployment remains high. No spending, no job creation; no job creation, no spending. So, we’re stuck in the middle of a situation where things are neither slipping down too far, nor growing too much either.
How to get out of this situation? Economists are starting to project as much as a decade of sub-standard growth (and the recently released Consumer Price Index, which shows continued low inflation, thank goodnesss, is also accompanied by central bank and IMF projections for growth at about one percentage less than usual for some time to come). What we need is some serious innovation, and some good ideas about how to take the un- and under-employed and find useful things for them to do. Anything that gets people busier and boosts overall productivity is good for adding to the bottom line and for creation confidence and optimism necessary for hiring to pick up.
But gosh, things do appear as if we’ll be stuck in the middle until my retirement age rolls around. That can’t be good!