The October jobs numbers are very troubling and a sign that the economy has a long way to go before it begins to see a meaningful turnaround. While the recession technically bottomed out in June 2009, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, anemic private-sector job growth shows that private investors and employers are still skittish about bringing employees back on board full time. The next 12 months will be crucial for determining whether the U.S. economy remains on a sluggish growth path — an ongoing march through a “lost decade” of income and growth — or picks up steam toward a real recovery. I see three keys to unlocking the nation’s growth potential: a move back toward predictable, rules-based monetary policy, a retrenchment in federal spending and entitlement reform to thwart even a hint of future tax increases, and regulatory policy that lets the private sector sort out the investment complexities embedded in recovering from the financial-services meltdown and stabilizing commercial and real-estate markets.
– Samuel R. Staley is Robert W. Galvin Fellow and Director of Urban & Land Use Policy at the Reason Foundation.