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2014: A milestone year for US economy

By Lalit K Jha
December 19, 2014 15:55 IST
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The year 2014 has been a milestone for the US economy with the average growth of 4.2 per cent in the last two quarters and addition of 2.65 million jobs till November, the White House has said.

"It was a milestone year for the economy. Growth has averaged 4.2 per cent in the last two quarters. That's the strongest six-month period in more than a decade," Jieff Zients, Director of the National Economic Council told reporters during a conference call on Thursday.

"Home prices are up. Businesses have added 10.9 million jobs over the last 57 months. That's the longest streak on record. And we've already added more 2.65 million jobs this calendar year through November -- than any full calendar year since the 1990s," he said.

"Job growth has been even higher in business services, technology and, of course, manufacturing. That's important. Because those are sectors with higher than average wages. So job growth higher in those sectors with higher than average wages," he said.

Highlighting that the country has made significant strides in manufacturing, he said, "Manufacturing is growing faster than the broader economy, contributing to record exports for the fifth straight year. We have had had a total of 764,000 manufacturing jobs. Those have been added since February of 2010.

"We right now in 2014 are running at a pace of 15,000 new manufacturing jobs per month. That's actually double the pace of last year, 2013," he added. Zients said across the last several years, US production has ramped up significantly by more than 50 per cent to now over eight and a half billion barrels a day.

That has dramatically reduced our dependence on imports. "In fact, we now produce more here than we import. So the situation, consistent with the President's all-of-the-above energy strategy has changed quite a bit across the last few years, as we are much less dependent on oil imparts," he said.

Reiterating that 2014 is a milestone year for the economy with some strong growth and job progress, Zients hoped to continue that momentum into 2015 and beyond.

"The area that needs to continue to -- that we all need to continue to focus on is middle class wages to ensure that everyone's participating in the economy. Wages across the last couple of decades -- so this predates the great recession -- have been relatively flat," he said.

There's been some better news recently in terms of job growth, particularly high in areas like business services, technology and manufacturing, which have higher-wage jobs, he said. 

Image: US President Barack Obama holds a baby during his visit to Fort Drum in New York. Photograph: Reuters

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Lalit K Jha in Washington
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