Are Jobs and Growth Still Linked?

Prakash LounganiBy Prakash Loungani 

(Version in Español)

Over 200 million people are unemployed around the globe today, over a fifth of them in advanced economies. Unemployment rates in these economies shot up at the onset of the Great Recession and, five years later, remain very high. Some argue that this is to be expected given that the economy remains well below trend and press for greater easing of macroeconomic policies (e.g. Krugman, 2011, Kocherlakota (2014)). Others suggest that the job losses, particularly in countries like Spain and Ireland, have been too large to be explained by developments in output, and may largely reflect structural problems in their labor markets. Even in the United States, where unemployment rates have fallen over the past year, there is concern that increasing numbers of people are dropping out of the labor force, thus decoupling jobs and growth.

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Restoring Jobs by Restoring Growth

A growth strategy is the best jobs strategy. Policies that restore growth in advanced economies will also put people back to work in these countries. And the growth spillovers to emerging markets and developing economies will boost jobs there as well. Put differently, the human costs—in terms of increased unemployment—of making bad policy choices are immense.

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