Overall businesses remain somewhat pessimistic and tentative about adding capacity and hiring workers in the U.S. Instead, they look to Asia where government policies are more accommodating and prospects for growth remain stronger.
The economy must add more than 360,000 jobs each month for three years to lower unemployment to 6% and that is not likely with current policies. That would require growth in the range of 4% to 5%. Without better trade, energy and regulatory policies, and lower health care costs and taxes on small businesses, that is simply not going to happen.
Most analysts see the unemployment rate for January fall a notch to 7.8%, but the wild card remains the number of adults actually working or seeking jobs -- the measure of the labor force used to calculate the unemployment rate.
Labor force participation is lower today than when President Obama took office and the recovery began, and factoring in discouraged adults and others working part-time that would prefer full time work, the unemployment rate is 14.4%.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.