2 Center for American Progress | Economic Snapshot: March 2014
quarer, and governmen spending decreased by 5.6 percen.
Te economy expanded by 11 percen rom June 2009 o December 2013is slowes expansion during recoveries o a leas equal lengh.
Policymakers need o ocus on srenghening key pars o economic growh, paricularly invesmen and expors, wih argeed mea-sures ha go beyond removing ﬁscal uncerainy.
2. Improvements to U.S. competitiveness lag behind previous business cycles.
Produciviy growh, measured as he increase in inﬂaion-adjused oupu per hour, is key o increasing living sandards. U.S. produciviy rose by 7.3 percen rom June 2009 o December 2013, he ﬁrs 18 quarers o he economic recovery since he end o he Grea Recession.
Tis compares o an average o 11.9 percen during all previ-ous recoveries o a leas equal lengh.
No previous recovery had lower produciviy growh han he curren one. Produciviy growh is he main driving orce behind he counry’s abiliy o raise living sandards. Weaker produciviy growh han in he pas will make i harder o build a srong middle class, requiring policymakers’ aten-ion o inves in U.S. compeiiveness.
The housing market continues to recover from historic lows.
New-home sales amouned o an annual rae o 468,000 in January 2014a 2.2 percen increase rom he 458,000 homes sold in January 2013 bu well below he hisorical average o 698,000 homes sold beore he Grea Recession.
Te median new-home price in January 2014 was $260,100, up rom one year earlier.
Exising-home sales were down by 7.1 percen in February 2014 rom one year earlier, bu he median price or exising homes was up by 9.1 percen during he same period.
Home sales have o go a lo urher, given ha homeownership in he Unied Saes sood a 65.2 percen in he ourh quarer o 2013, down rom 68.2 percen beore he recession. Te curren homeownership raes are similar o hose recorded in 1996, well beore he mos recen housing bubble sared.
Alhough he housing-marke recovery sared laer han he wider economic recoveryand sared ou a a record lowhe housing marke has laely conribued a much-needed boos o economic progress. As such, here is sill pleny o room or he housing marke o provide more simulaion o he economy more broadly. Te ﬂedgling housing recovery could gain urher srengh i policymakers suppor economic growh and job creaion a he same ime.
Moderate labor-market recovery shows less job growth than in previous recoveries.
Tere were 6.8 million more jobs in February 2013 han in June 2009. Te privae secor added 7.5 million jobs during his period. Te loss o nearly 630,000 sae and local governmen jobs explains he diﬀerence beween he ne gain o all jobs and he privae-secor gain in his period. Budge cus reduced he number o eachers, bus drivers, ﬁreﬁghers, and police oﬃcers, among ohers.
Te oal number o jobs has now grown by 5.2 percen during his recovery, compared o an average o 12.3 per-cen during all prior recoveries o a leas equal lengh.
Tose looking or jobs sill need assisance such as exended unemploymen insurance beneﬁs.