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December 21, 2006

Happy birthday to the expansion

As the current economic expansion turns five years old, N.C. State University economist Mike Walden explores how it's been different from past expansions.

"And what we mean by expansion … is the fact the economy has actually been growing. A lot of people may not believe this but we actually have had a growing economy starting in 2002," says Dr. Walden, a North Carolina Cooperative Extension specialist. "This expansion, though, I think …, has been different. It has been primarily different because of globalization.

"You can really say that globalization started in full force in the year 2000 with China’s entry into the World Trade Organization," he adds. "And what we see if we look behind the numbers, behind the averages, what we see is a lot of unevenness.

"While most of the averages in our economy have improved, when we look behind those we see they have not improved for everyone," he says. "Certainly college educated workers, professional workers, woman -- they all gained big during this expansion, but those folks with less than a college education, in particular occupations like construction and service workers, they’ve not gained.

"And I think we have to put a lot of the onus for this," he concludes, "at the feet of globalization."

Posted by deeshore at December 21, 2006 07:15 AM