Angus Deaton: Long-term trend of job weakness continues

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This week, Project Syndicate catches up with Angus Deaton, the 2015 Nobel laureate in economics and a professor emeritus at Princeton University. Project Syndicate : Before the US midterm elections in 2018, you challenged claims that President Donald Trump had been good for the economy, highlighting, among other things, that strong stock-market performance reflects the redistribution of income from labor to capital, at the expense of the vast majority of Americans. Trump’s defenders would no doubt point to low unemployment and rising wages, even for those at the bottom, in defending the president’s performance. In advance of November’s presidential election, what should American voters understand about the Trump economy? Angus Deaton : The US has undergone a long and very slow recovery from the Great Recession. But that recovery is attributable mostly to the actions of previous administrations, though Trump’s tax cuts also played a role. And while the employment rate has risen (as it always does when the economy is doing well), and unemployment is low, the employment rate remains lower than before the Great Recession, and substantially lower than in 2000. In fact, the long-run trend of less-educated Americans dropping out of the labor force shows no sign of having abated. The quality of jobs is deteriorating as large firms outsource many of their operations. Meanwhile, the stock market is booming in response to giveaways to corporations. PS : You’ve highlighted the correlation between US counties with elevated mortality rates for white people – especially owing to […]

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