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Slow-Motion U.S. Recovery Searches for Second Gear

Wall Street Journal (06/24/13) Brenda Cronin

Although economists expect 2014 to be the best year since 2005 for economic growth and anticipate a drop in the unemployment rate below 7%, observers remain cautious about stock market declines and rising interest rates. Inflation remains low, consumer confidence has hit a five-year high, and the economy has managed to weather tax hikes and other shocks without falling back into recession. Moreover, the rebounding housing market will fuel economic growth during the second half of the year.

However, slow hiring and stagnant wage growth have put a damper on the economy, and with 24 million fewer jobs today than at the start of the recession, the Brookings Institution expects it to take more than nine years at the current rate of hiring for employment to return to prerecession levels.