Fed Reveals New Concerns About Long-Term U.S. Slowdown
By Rich Miller - Nov 26, 2013 7:25 PM ET
Worker productivity, a key component of an economy’s health, has risen at an annual clip of 1 percent during the last four years, as the U.S. has struggled to recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression. That’s less than half the 2.2 percent average gain since 1983, according to data from the Labor Department in Washington.
A combination of forces may be at work. Chastened by the deep economic slump, corporate executives have reduced spending plans for factories, equipment, research and development. Startup businesses have been held back as would-be entrepreneurs find it harder to get financing from still-cautious lenders. And out-of-work Americans have seen their skills atrophy the longer they’re without jobs.
“We’re in a slow-growth period of unknown duration,” said Edmund Phelps, a professor at Columbia University in New York and winner of the 2006 Nobel prize in economics.