A special report from The Economist on America’s economy, with the anchor piece, “Time to Rebalance“:
Virtually every industry has shed jobs in the past two years, but those that cater mostly to consumers have suffered most. Employment in residential construction and carmaking is down by almost a third, in retailing and banking by 8%. As the economy recovers, some of those jobs will come back, but many of them will not, because this was no ordinary recession. The bubbly asset prices, ever easier credit and cheap oil that fuelled America’s age of consumerism are not about to return.
Instead, America’s economy will undergo one of its biggest transformations in decades. This macroeconomic shift from debt and consumption to saving and exports will bring microeconomic changes too: different lifestyles, and different jobs in different places.
Stagnation or restructuring, the key to growth is exports.
[Shifts] in the pattern of global growth and the dollar are laying the groundwork for a boom in exports. “There’s a world view that the United States is the consumer of the world and emerging markets are the producer,” says Bruce Kasman, chief economist at JPMorgan Chase. “That has changed.” He reckons that America will account for just 27% of global consumption this year against emerging markets’ 34%, roughly the reverse of their shares eight years ago.
There’s an interview with the lead reporter on the project, Greg Ip.
A good, thought-provoking report with much we hope comes true, but it’s always a dicey effort to predict — or prescribe — large-scale economic reordering.
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