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Volcker Says Nations May Face Prolonged Unemployment

Thursday, 07 Oct 2010 07:01 AM

(Updates with comment on economy in seventh paragraph.)

Oct. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, an adviser to President Barack Obama, said he doesn’t expect consumer spending to spur growth, and the U.S. and other developed nations face the prospect of protracted joblessness.

“This has not been an ordinary recession,” Volcker, 83, said today in a speech in Toronto. It’s “very difficult to find a sector in the American economy that has any spark to it,” he said.

Developed nations may undergo “prolonged unemployment,” he said. “It’s going to take years to turn it around,” presenting an “enormous political challenge for all leaders.”

U.S. companies unexpectedly cut jobs last month as employment decreased by 39,000, the biggest drop since January, after a revised 10,000 rise in August, according to figures from ADP Employer Services. A loss of jobs raises the risk that consumer spending, the largest part of the U.S. economy, will retrench and halt the recovery.

Unemployment, public debt and fragile banking systems pose risks to global prosperity, the International Monetary Fund said today, urging policy makers to take bolder steps to assure a sustained recovery.

The world economy will expand 4.2 percent next year, the Washington-based IMF said in a report, down from its forecast of 4.3 percent three months ago. The fund projects growth of 4.8 percent this year, up from 4.6 percent.

The U.S. has “very large adjustments” to make in the economy, including increasing exports and cutting the current- account deficit, Volcker said. “It will take years.”

Volcker is chairman of the president’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board. As Fed chairman from 1979 to 1987, he raised interest rates to as high as 20 percent to tame inflation, triggering a recession.

--Editors: James Tyson, Carlos Torres

To contact the reporter on this story: Alexandre Deslongchamps in Ottawa at adeslongcham@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Wellisz at cwellisz@bloomberg.net; David Scanlan at dscanlan@bloomberg.net.

© Copyright 2017 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

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(Updates with comment on economy in seventh paragraph.) Oct. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, an adviser to President Barack Obama, said he doesn’t expect consumer spending to spur growth, and the U.S. and other developed nations face the...
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