USA Today (01/01/14) John W. Schoen
Even though U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and other economists expect gradual economic improvement in 2014, many Americans feel that the Great Recession has not ended. Housing and stock prices have risen, the government’s budget deficit has shrunk, consumer spending is up, and the economy grew at a strong 4.1% annual rate in the third quarter, but much of the improvement in the unemployment rate has been tied to people leaving the workforce, rather than finding jobs.
“There is confidence that there is strength in underlying demand. If we see more investment and more hiring by small businesses it could have a very positive impact—because small businesses historically account for the lion’s share of job growth. And that’s where we haven’t seen strong job growth,” says Ira Kalish, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu chief global economist.