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Breaking Free from the Great Recession - 3/4/15

The U.S. economy finally appears to be breaking free of the Great Recession’s dark pull.  As indicated by Moody’s Chief Economist Mark Zandi, the clearest evidence of this emerges from the U.S. labor market.  More than 3.2 million jobs have been produced on net by the economy over the past year, the strongest growth since the apex of the technology boom that ended roughly fifteen years ago. 

For the last few years, economists among others, have noted how frustratingly high unemployment and under-employment have remained.  But at the current pace of job growth, full employment, defined as an unemployment rate of around five percent, is within reach within eighteen months. 

If the nation is able to add approximately four point five million jobs over that period, that would be enough to reduce unemployment to five percent, put discouraged workers back to work, and absorb the large numbers of part-timers who would prefer a full-time position.  It has been about a decade since the U.S. economy was operating at full employment.  By 2017, the economy’s biggest problem might be a lack of qualified labor; a problem already facing a number of economic segments.

Anirban Basu, Chariman Chief Executive Officer of Sage Policy Group (SPG), is one of the Mid-Atlantic region's leading economic consultants. Prior to founding SPG he was Chairman and CEO of Optimal Solutions Group, a company he co-founded and which continues to operate. Anirban has also served as Director of Applied Economics and Senior Economist for RESI, where he used his extensive knowledge of the Mid-Atlantic region to support numerous clients in their strategic decision-making processes. Clients have included the Maryland Department of Transportation, St. Paul Companies, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Players Committee and the Martin O'Malley mayoral campaign.