Kauffman Foundation Survey: Economic Bloggers’ Outlook Improves

The Kauffman Foundation published its new quarterly survey of “leading economics bloggers” today and the general outlook from this group is that there’s “a bit of hope” twinkling on the horizon, according to the press release. The Capital Spectator is among those surveyed.

A couple of the report’s excerpts…
● Economics bloggers are less pessimistic in their outlook on the U.S. economy than they were at the end of 2010, though 77 percent believe overall conditions are mixed, facing recession, or in recession. For an economy in which growth is the norm, 31 percent of respondents think that the U.S. economy is worse than official statistics indicate, and only 10 percent believe it is better. When asked to describe the economy using five adjectives, “uncertain” remains the most frequently used term to describe the economy.
● The number of competing explanations for the jobless recovery can be a bit mind-numbing, but the panel of economics bloggers had very strong feelings about which were true and which were not. Far and away the most popular explanation (with 95 percent agreeing and a full majority agreeing “strongly”) was the reluctance of firms to hire in an uncertain macroeconomy. Two other explanations were supported by a four-to-one margin: a structural change in the demand for labor (e.g., more knowledge jobs and a secular decline in muscle jobs) and an overall decline in aggregate demand. That means the bloggers think both a recessionary slump and a technological change in the economy are to blame, not one versus the other. The two ideas that bloggers rejected are (1) the theory that unions and employees have lost bargaining power, and (2) the U.S. level of wealth has increased the labor-leisure trade-off to the extent that people are more willing to tolerate leaving the labor force.