Economist Says U.S. Is Finally Back to Pre-Recession Levels
But Growth Isn't Keeping Pace with Needs
A Ball State economist says the U.S. economy is back to where it was in Christmas 2007, but it's also dangerously dependent on what happens in Europe.
Mike Hicks says the economy is indeed back to where it was before the recession hit five years ago. Hicks says auto manufacturing is strong again and the telecommunications and health care sectors are doing well. The National Retail Federation is backing that up by estimating that retail spending this holiday season should jump 4.1 percent to $586 billion. NRF figures show average consumer spending should be near 2007 levels.
However, Hicks says there are concerns. He says many retailers are clearly worried and are pulling out all sorts or promotions to lure shoppers. He adds that there are now eight million more Americans, many of whom are searching for work. He says economic growth isn't keeping pace with needs. Hicks says the European economy remains a threat with some countries seeing continuing increases in unemployment. Hicks says parts of Greece, Spain and Portugal are seeing unemployment topping 20 percent. Hicks says despite encouraging signs, the U.S. could easily slip back into recession if the European picture doesn't improve soon.