It's taken a record number of quarters, but the economy is back to its pre-recession peak. Preliminary GDP figures are out today:
Total output grew at an estimated annual rate of 2.5 percent from July to September, still modest but almost double the 1.3 percent rate in the second quarter, the department reported.
The pace, however, was not brisk enough to recover the ground lost in the economic bust, lower unemployment or even substantially dispel fears of a second recession. Still, the report offered a small helping of reassurance.
Of course unemployment remains high because of 1) the depth of the recession and the massive number of jobs the economy hemorrhaged, and, 2) because businesses are refusing to hire because they've figured out how to pay people less for doing more work. The money is available for new hiring, with record cash assets of $2 trillion, but they're not hiring. If pre-recession economic growth and record cash assets won't coax businesses to hire more workers, I'm not sure what will change their minds. And the Republicans filibustered a bill that would have created a two million new jobs, including hiring incentives for veterans. Any ideas?