Market Overview

The Biggest Achievement And Disappointment Of The U.S. Economic Recovery


Benzinga had the chance to speak to Oppenheimer Funds' Chief Economist Jerry Webman this week ahead of the ENGAGE 2015 International Investment Education Symposium being held at Wayne State University starting on March 26.

Webman provided his insight on a wide range of topics in the financial world.

The U.S. economy is now six years removed from the scariest part of the Financial Crisis, and share prices have never looked better. The S&P 500 is more than 33 percent higher than it ever was before the Financial Crisis.

Benzinga discussed the economics of the recovery with Webman.

Recovery Is Over; Economy Now Expanding

Webman was quick to point out the "recovery" is now an "expansion," since the U.S. economy has been larger than the pre-crisis economy for quite some time. When asked what aspect of the recovery has been disappointing to economists and what part of it has been the most surprising achievement, he had two answers.

Related Link: Top Economist: Watch Out For 'Excess'

Disappointment: Jobs

According to Webman, it's not just lack of job creation that has been disappointing, it has been the types of jobs created and the overall strength of the labor market. Webman told Benzinga that lots of questions remain unanswered when it comes to the labor market.

"Are we creating enough jobs that people with a range of skills can possibly take on? Do we have the right skills? Are we creating jobs that fit the skills we can create?"

Achievement: Profits

Webman told Benzinga that the ability of American companies to adapt and profit in the face of difficult economic circumstances during and after the Financial Crisis has been reassuring to many economists.

"The pleasant surprise has been how resourceful… companies have been in figuring out how to make money and continue to increase earnings in a tough financial and, for many parts of the economy, tough political environment… which I find very reassuring about the entrepreneurial spirit of the country."

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