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“It’s not a recovery. It’s not even normal growth. It’s bad,” UCLA economist Edward Leamer says.

By Ricardo Lopez, Los Angeles Times
June 5, 2013, 1:00 a.m.

The country’s tepid growth in its gross domestic product isn’t creating enough good jobs to build a strong middle class, according to a UCLA report released Wednesday.

“Growth in GDP has been positive, but not exceptional,” UCLA economists wrote in their quarterly Anderson Forecast. “Jobs are growing, but not rapidly enough to create good jobs for all.”

The report, which analyzed long-term trends of past recoveries, found that the long-anticipated “Great Recovery” has not yet materialized.

Real GDP growth — the value of goods and services produced after adjusting for inflation — is 15.4% below the 3% growth trend of past recoveries, wrote Edward Leamer, director of the UCLA Anderson Forecast. More robust growth will be necessary to bring this recovery in line with previous ones.

“It’s not a recovery,” he wrote. “It’s not even normal growth. It’s bad.”

That has long-term implications in the face of technological advancements that continue displacing workers, Leamer said. And the country’s education system isn’t adequately developing the workforce of the future, he said.

“Regrettably we reward teachers if their students can regurgitate the information on standardized tests,” he wrote. Future workers will need creative and analytical thinking skills for 21st century jobs, he said.

Though GDP growth has been lackluster since the recession ended, the sustained housing recovery is expected to boost GDP over the next couple of years and further bring down the unemployment rate, Leamer said.

Economists predict the U.S. jobless rate will fall to 6.9% by the end of 2014 and edge down to 6.4% by the end of 2015.

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