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Morici: Despite Headwinds, Modest Jobs Growth Expected

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.

Professor Peter Morici, of the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, is a recognized expert on economic policy and international economics. Prior to joining the university, he served as director of the Office of Economics at the U.S. International Trade Commission. He is the author of 18 books and monographs and has published widely in leading public policy and business journals, including the Harvard Business Review and Foreign Policy. Morici has lectured and offered executive programs at more than 100 institutions, including Columbia University, the Harvard Business School and Oxford University. His views are frequently featured on CNN, CBS, BBC, FOX, ABC, CNBC, NPR, NPB and national broadcast networks around the world.
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