Quick Takes | Economic Growth

Economy’s current growth rate will not reliably lower unemployment

Gross domestic product grew in the fourth quarter of 2011 at the fastest rate since the first half of 2010 – but any celebration should be muted. The 2.8% growth rate for the quarter was well below expectations and the year-round growth rate for 2011 was only 1.7%, a rate that would not generate reliable declines in unemployment should it continue.

It seems clear that the sharp withdrawal of fiscal support currently embedded in law for 2012 would result in growth wholly insufficient to reliably lower the unemployment rate. At the very least, a year-long extension of extended unemployment insurance benefits and the payroll tax cut should be passed to keep 2012 from being a year of no improvement in joblessness.

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