International Business Quarterly: Trade, Jobs, and Growth
January 10, 2013
The 2012 elections are now behind us, and official Washington is back to today’s crisis. Yet nearly four years after the official end of the 2008–2009 recession, the U.S. economy continues to struggle with slow growth. The IMF recently trimmed its 2013 forecast for U.S. GDP growth to 2.3 percent, following 1.7 percent in 2011 and 2.0 percent in 2012. November’s unemployment report revealed falling labor force participation rates—down 350,000 despite an increase of 191,000 in our working-age population.
What policy options are available to the White House and Congress? Additional fiscal stimulus is a political nonstarter. Diminishing returns appear to have set in with regard to further monetary easing. Regulatory reform would help, but it’s nowhere near the top of the agenda. But opening markets—at home and abroad—would boost economic performance at very low cost. An ambitious trade and investment policy is a powerful tool for generating better jobs and accelerating growth.