Fresno, Calif. – The economy for the first half of 2016 has showed itself to be lackluster according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Experts describe the national economic labor trends as ‘gruel.’ And without more economic growth, labor in all sectors will sputter.
In his mid-year report on the economy and its impact on labor, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Senior Economist Brian Higginbotham says this about the first half of 2016, “Improvement continues since the start of the year, but it is thin gruel.” If you know what ‘gruel’ is, and I had to look it up, it’s a thin watery cereal. Doesn’t sound too appealing and certainly not for a descriptive word for the US economy. What this has shown is fewer workers in the labor force from January to June.
According to the Bureau of labor Statistics, the number of attached workers has declined from 2.1 million in January to 1.8 million in June. And those working part time for economic reasons decreased 6.0 million in January to 5.8 million in June. Wage growth was modest according to Higginbotham and he says that spells modest economic growth the rest of the year. “But on net, the labor market is growing at a slow and steady, but entirely unfulfilling, pace,” say the Senior Economist.
So what about the rest of 2016? Can we see a bump in the economy and labor? Higginbotham doesn’t think so for a few reasons. First, the global outlook took a hit with ‘Brexit’, the Brits leaving the European Union. Also in recent weeks he says that weakness in job growth since December after the Fed’s first rate hike in years, will slow or at least keep things at this ‘grueling’ pace, pun intended. One positive is the interest rates should hold steady or drop slightly spelling good news for consumer commerce and capital expenditures such as home purchasing.
Higginbotham believes the rest of 2016 will be economically uneventful and labor will follow suit. But he says, “Although the economy has been defined by its underperformance since the end of the recession, sound policies would still accelerate the return to true full employment and a stronger long-run growth rate.”
Being that this is a General Election year where the next President of the United States will be elected, could that have anything to do with 2016 economic and labor growth? Higginbotham doesn’t deny that this is a factor among many policies that need addressing, “They include fighting regulations, defending our financial system, advancing trade, producing American energy, electing the right candidates and answering attacks on American business.”
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