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U.S. Industry Declines; Banker Says Only Large-Scale Infrastructure Will Bring It Back

March 19, 2017 (EIRNS)—U.S. industrial production for February was reported on March 17; it is now 3% lower than it was in November 2014, fully 27 months ago.

Nothing will bring back U.S. labor participation and productivity but a large-scale government-sponsored modern infrastructure-building program, said banker Daniel Alpert of Westwood Capital in a conference presentation published by Business Insider March 18. Alpert’s primary point was that the declines in a) labor force participation; b) full hours, high-wage employment; c) capacity utilization in industry (at 75.5%, the lowest non-recession level in U.S. history); and d) productivity, are indicators that the return to "full employment" is a sham. The greatest dropout rate is among the prime working-age cohorts of the population. Low-wage, low-hours employment (less than $600/week wage, or less than $30,000/year even if full-time, which most such employment is not), is 36% of total employment now—but it has accounted for two-thirds of all employment growth since 2007.

Accordingly, Alpert said, only a large, government-sponsored infrastructure investment program a) will increase employment in construction, machine-tool, and materials manufacturing employment; b) will pull up the service sectors which support the goods-producing sectors, including transportation and electrical/heating utilities, water management; and c) will provide the U.S. economy with repaired, replaced and expanded transportation, power, utility, Internet technology, education, and security infrastructure.

Alpert concludes the "labor market remains a shadow of its former self. It’s time to rebuild America."