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International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This 2016 Article IV Consultation highlights that the United States is now in its seventh consecutive year of expansion. The unemployment rate has fallen to 4.9 percent, and household net worth is close to precrisis peaks. Nonetheless, the economy has gone through a temporary growth dip in the last two quarters. Lower oil prices led to a further contraction in energy sector investment, and a strong dollar and weak global demand have weighed on net exports. With activity indicators for the second quarter of 2016 rebounding, the economy is expected to grow at 2.2 percent and 2.5 percent in 2016 and 2017, which is above potential.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This 2015 Article IV Consultation highlights that the U.S. economy’s momentum in the first quarter of 2015 was sapped by unfavorable weather, a sharp contraction in oil sector investment, and the West Coast port strike. But the underpinnings for a continued expansion remain in place. A solid labor market, accommodative financial conditions, and cheaper oil should support a more dynamic path for the remainder of the year. Despite this, the weaker outturn in the first few months of 2015 will unavoidably pull down 2015 growth. Despite important policy uncertainties, the near-term fiscal outlook has improved, and the federal government deficit is likely to move modestly lower in the current fiscal year.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This Selected Issues paper on the United States of America examines the recent US labor force penetration rate (LFPR) dynamics. LFPR dynamics can be driven by structural factors and cyclical ones related to job prospects. With participation rates for older workers lower than for prime age workers, demographic models suggest that aging of the baby boom generation explains about 50 percent of the near 3p.p. LFPR decline during 2007–2013. State-level panel regression analysis is used to tie down the cyclical effect, which is estimated to account for about 30–40 percent of the decline. Significant remaining slack in the labor market points to an important role for macroeconomic and labor supply policies. This suggests a still important role for stimulative macroeconomic policies to help reach full employment. Macroeconomic policy should remain accommodative for a while given sizeable labor market slack. This slack goes beyond that signaled by the unemployment rate and takes account of the LFPR being below trend and many employees working part time ‘involuntarily’.
Mr. Andrei A Levchenko and Quý Toàn Ðo
We analyze the relationship between international trade and the quality of economic institutions, such as contract enforcement, rule of law, and property rights. In our model, firms differ in their preferences for institutional quality, which is determined endogenously in a political economy framework. We show that trade opening can worsen institutions when it increases the political power of a small elite of large exporters who prefer to maintain bad institutions. The detrimental effect of trade on institutions is most likely to occur when a small country captures a sufficiently large share of world exports in sectors characterized by economic profits.