Does 5.7% GDP growth help to alleviate the 17% effective unemployment rate?

Consider this article from Bloomberg News. (H/T ECM)


New York University Professor Nouriel Roubini, who anticipated the financial crisis, called the fourth quarter surge in U.S. economic growth “very dismal and poor” because it relied on temporary factors.

Roubini said more than half of the 5.7 percent expansion reported yesterday by the government was related to a replenishing of inventories and that consumption depended on monetary and fiscal stimulus. As these forces ebb, growth will slow to just 1.5 percent in the second half of 2010, he said.

Investors Business Daily explains:

So let’s deconstruct that 5.7% a bit. For one thing, most of the gain — nearly two-thirds, in fact — was a result of an end to the panicked inventory liquidation that took place at U.S. firms last year. Remove that, and a different picture emerges — a 2.2% rise in GDP.

Most economists agree that GDP growth of 3% or so is needed to boost employment. That may in part explain why GDP could grow 2.2% in the third quarter and 5.7% in the fourth quarter, while businesses slashed 735,000 jobs over the same six months.

More meaningful is year-over-year growth. By that measure, we barely grew — real GDP rose just 0.1% in the fourth quarter from last year, virtually flat. Worse, real nonresidential fixed investment — a proxy for business investment in future output — plunged 14.6% from last year. That’s a shocking vote of “no confidence” in Obamanomics by America’s entrepreneurs and businesses.

We wish that was all, but it isn’t. According to the Labor Department, wages and benefits rose in 2009 by just 1.5%, the smallest rise in history. Meanwhile, weekly earnings for nonmanagement workers fell 1.6% last year, the worst since the 1991 recession.

These subpar numbers only underscore the weakness of our job market. In just two years, we’ve destroyed almost 8 million jobs and watched as the unemployment rate surged to 10%.

One quarter of growth isn’t going to change anything – we still have 10% unemployment, which is actually 17% when you consider the people who are no longer actively looking for work. Obamanomics wrecked the economy, starting in late 2006 when the Democrats got control of the House.

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