The disappointing recovery of output after 2009

John G. Fernald, Robert E. Hall, James H. Stock, Mark W. Watson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


U.S. output has expanded only slowly since the recession trough in 2009, even though the unemployment rate has essentially returned to a precrisis, normal level. We use a growth-accounting decomposition to explore explanations for the output shortfall, giving full treatment to cyclical effects that, given the depth of the recession, should have implied unusually fast growth. We find that the growth shortfall has almost entirely reflected two factors: the slow growth of total factor productivity, and the decline in labor force participation. Both factors reflect powerful adverse forces that are largely unrelated to the financial crisis and recession-and that were in play before the recession.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-81
Number of pages81
JournalBrookings Papers on Economic Activity
Issue numberSpring
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • Economics and Econometrics


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