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Economic Recovery Will Remain Slow, Panel Says

May 07, 2012

U.S. economic growth for the next several years will linger around 3 percent a year – possibly higher, but only slightly, if a new president is inaugurated next January, said an Alumni Weekend panel of experts.

“We’re on a very slow recovery. If you ride slowly, a puff of wind can blow you off track. We need a little bit more momentum,” said Bill Dunkelberg, chief economist for the National Federation of Independent Business and former dean of Temple’s Fox School. His prediction: “low inflation and interest, slow growth, no progress on the deficit, Europe worsens.”

Stephen Mullin, senior vice president and principal at Econsult Corp., pointed out that the U.S. is experiencing its second consecutive “jobless” recovery, because the pre-recession economic spikes from the dot-com and housing bubbles “were more and more ridiculous. We had phony jobs that were not productive.” As for the likelihood of quick job growth bringing the country out of a recession: “We will never see those days again.”

Added Dunkelberg: “Big manufacturers are doing really well. The problem is we get a lot of output without creating more jobs.”

Mullin predicted that the plentiful supply of natural gas in the U.S. could be a “game changer” that will drive energy costs down.

A third panelist, Ed Friedman, a director at Moody's Analytics, praised the Federal Reserve for becoming more transparent about its monetary policies and sharing specific scenario possibilities as part of its forecasts.

The event was sponsored by Drexel LeBow Corporate and Executive Education.