A Better Decade Ahead for the Economy

A "Lost Decade" like Japan's? We've already done it. But, things are looking up for the coming one.

The past decade was a lost one for the U.S. economy, with almost no growth in a wide variety of measures. Stock values rose, then plunged, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average now at about the same point it stood at the start of 2000. The median income for American households adjusted for inflation stands at $49,777 -- 5% lower than it was 10 years ago. Real GDP gained a mere 20% from 2000 through 2009. And total employment was unchanged from the start of the decade to the end.

The next decade won't be nearly as dismal. The pace of GDP gains will accelerate from the recent annualized growth rate of 2%, as orders continue to rise while productivity increases slow, requiring employers to add workers. The result will be to unleash pent-up demand, boosting growth.

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Jerome Idaszak
Contributing Editor, The Kiplinger Letter
Idaszak, now retired, worked on The Kiplinger Letter as its economics writer for 21 years. Before joining Kiplinger in 1992, he worked for 15 years with the Chicago Sun-Times, including five years as a columnist and economic correspondent in the Washington, D.C., bureau, covering five international economic summit meetings. He holds bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from Northwestern University.