It is not an overstatement to describe economic growth in much of the developed world—especially in the US and Europe—as lacklustre. Since the Global Financial Crisis of 2007–8, growth rates have consistently remained below trend. Notably, this dilemma has persisted for the last 7 years, so it’s about time we better understand why growth hasn’t returned to its pre-crisis trajectory.
It is now 5 years into the US recovery after the severe recession of 2008-9, unemployment has fallen to 6.7% and quarterly GDP growth remains between 1-2%. At first glance the recovery finally appears to be picking up momentum, with stronger then expected growth in the last half of 2013.
Looking at the longer term trends however, any optimism is quickly expunged as it appears the US is performing far below its potential. The IMF outlook for 2013 shows actual GDP to be more than 4% below potential GDP.