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Employment Slogs to Pre-Recession Levels While Congress Skips the Big Job

Released: 6-Jun-2014 11:00 AM EDT
Source Newsroom: Cornell University
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Steven C. Kyle, an expert in macroeconomics and government policy and an economics professor at Cornell’s Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, cautions that U.S. employment gains announced today signal significant progress, but job numbers could be higher if Congress took advantage of historically low interest rates to invest in needed infrastructure improvements.

Kyle says:

“Employment is finally higher than before the recession, but don't cheer too loudly.

“Though we continue to register gains we have yet to catch up with population growth. That's why unemployment is still at 6.3 percent and labor-force participation is distinctly lower than in 2008.

“Rather than having a ‘bounceback’ as is often the case after a recession, we continue to have more of a ‘trudgeback’ – a long, slow slog which someday will result in unemployment rates that are truly worth a cheer. Of course, we could have this quite soon if we decided to take advantage of zero interest rates to rebuild our crumbling schools and roads and thereby boost jobs – but don't count on Congress to do that, especially in an election year.

“Somehow, waiting for interest rates to rise before investing in infrastructure makes more sense to Congress than doing it now. That makes no sense to most economists, who would never wait for higher interest rates to, say, refinance their own houses. But then neither would Congressmen. What are they thinking about?”

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