US Treasury Secretary Says Economy Gaining Traction

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said on Wednesday the economy was gaining traction but that the lack of progress on wages and employment remains disappointing.

In remarks to the New York Economic Club, Lew said that for the high numbers of unemployed, and those whose wages have stagnated, “this hardly feels like a recovery.”

“The ultimate test for all of us will be how inclusive tomorrow’s economy becomes and how widely our economic gains flow,” he said. “The crisis we face today is the need to make sure the economy is expanding fast enough to support a growing middle class.”

A dismal start to 2014, with businesses hampered by a harsh winter, has given way to optimism about the course of growth for the rest of this year. Lew noted, as well, that political feuding in Washington over health care, the debt ceiling and budget issues has receded.

That, he said, should pave the way for a broader discussion about how to tackle structural economic issues – how to spur infrastructure investment, strengthen alternatives to four-year colleges to train workers, and tackle immigration reform as a way to reverse the decline in labor force participation.

The drop in participation rates has been one of the more perplexing economic issues to grow out of the recent crisis and recession. Though some of the decline is the result of the aging of the U.S. population, some of it remains unexplained.

via Reuters

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Alfonso Esparza

Alfonso Esparza

Senior Currency Analyst at Market Pulse
Alfonso Esparza specializes in macro forex strategies for North American and major currency pairs. Upon joining OANDA in 2007, Alfonso Esparza established the MarketPulseFX blog and he has since written extensively about central banks and global economic and political trends. Alfonso has also worked as a professional currency trader focused on North America and emerging markets. He has been published by The MarketWatch, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal and The Globe and Mail, and he also appears regularly as a guest commentator on networks including Bloomberg and BNN. He holds a finance degree from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM) and an MBA with a specialization on financial engineering and marketing from the University of Toronto.
Alfonso Esparza