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Are the Good Times Over?

STANFORD – In the 25 years before the Great Recession of 2008-2009, the United States experienced two brief, mild recessions and two strong, long expansions. Globally, incomes grew briskly; inflation abated; and stock markets boomed. Moreover, the recovery from the last major slump, in the early 1980s, brought about a quarter-century of unprecedentedly strong and stable macroeconomic performance. This time, however, the return to growth has been much more difficult.

America’s recovery since the Great Recession, has been inconsistent, with growth repeatedly picking up and then sputtering out. In fact, the US has not experienced three consecutive quarters of 3% growth in a decade. Though lower oil prices are helping consumers, this gain is partly offset by less energy investment, and the effects of the stronger dollar will be even larger.