Back to Pre-Recession Economic Growth

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?

  • bphoon

    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 here I thought that if you just throw a shit-load of cash at the “job creators”, the magical market would take care of everything all by itself. That’s what we’ve been getting told ad nauseum by the likes of Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor, isn’t it?

    Well, guys, where are all the fucking jobs?

  • Chachizel

    The money these corporations are sitting on is RIDICULOUS. That alone should be reason enough to vote Dem and get this jobs bill passed. It’s obvious that they are not going to hire people…tax cuts or not. I truly do not understand why anyone not rich would vote for the Rs. Beyond my realm of understanding.

    • Bob Rutledge

      I seem to be using this quote a lot lately, but it’s so appropriate…

      “Most men with nothing would rather protect the possibility of becoming rich than face the reality of being poor” — John Dickinson, 1776 (the character in the play/movie, not the actual person)

      And once they’re rich, to continue the thought, they’ll reap the benefits of the 9.9.9 Plan, the No-Estate-Tax Plan, the Rape-The-Planet-Within-An-Inch-Of-Its-Life-And-Live-Off-Filtered-Air-And-Water Plan, and all the rest of the Regress-Things-Back-To-The-Days-Of-Serfdom Plans that the Corporatist R’s have waiting in the wings if they can gain control of all three branches of gummint.

  • GrafZeppelin127

    [B]usinesses are refusing to hire because they’ve figured out how to pay people less for doing more work.

    Well, that, and they’ve figured out how to make shit-tons of money without any need for human labor.

    • Rick Janes

      Good point, Graf. I read of a Toyota plant in Japan that can build a car from beginning to end entirely with robots and needs only a handful of humans to oversee the process. Fast food restaurants are in the works that need only one person at a computer to cook, package and deliver the hamburgers and fries to the customer. That’s the future of human labor, unless we all become Luddites. This will require a complete rethinking of our ‘you must work for your daily bread’ mindset, as there won’t be much of a need for human labor in 20-30 years. Society will have to decide whether human beings have intrinsic value and should be eligible for a comfortable life just by dint of their existence or, and this is apparently what the 1 Percent thinks, human life is cheap and anyone who can’t help the wealthy is expendable. It’s a question I have yet to hear any politician or major economist address, but it’s already become an important one to ask. Of course, the obvious question is what good it would be to have robotically-made Toyotas or computerized fast food joints and the like if there are few who have the money to buy the product.

  • Rick Janes

    Unfortunately, the GOP and their corporate masters appear to want to crash the economy completely as a prologue to ridding the rich of taxes and corporations of any form of regulation, and destroying unions as desperate Americans take any sort of job at any pay in order to eat and live indoors. Disaster capitalism at it ‘finest.’ Of course, it’s a wildly insane plan, but look at who controls the Republican Party these days — Randians and Christopublicans, two groups that are not known for having their feet firmly planted in reality. The solution will be when they are turned out in the next election; in the meantime, I don’t see another answer.

    • dildenusa

      Hopefully, more independent minded voters will see through the tea party republic haze distorting economic reality. I heard a report on my local npr station in Arizona that President Obama could get a majority of independents in Arizona and win the state in 2012.

    • muselet

      If the Rs lose the next election—if they lose every single race at the national, state and local levels—the party will lunge farther to the Right, arguing that they lost because they were insufficiently pure in their conservatism. (It’s what happened after their big losses in 2006 and 2008.) If the Rs win the next election, they will argue that it’s because voters are conservative, and lunge farther to the Right.

      Conservatism can not fail; it can only be failed.


  • dildenusa

    Small businesses are hiring because they live on the edge. Keeping balance means you take on only what is necessary to maintain balance.

    Normally, a growing economy would spur hiring and production in large corporations. Corporations aren’t hiring because scum bags like the Koch Roaches use their money to fund front groups to influence corporate hiring in their con game to do away with the EPA and other environmental regulatory agencies.