If the US economy is ever going to reach breakout speed, it's got some serious work to do — literally.
Amid a raft of other economic data that has been mixed to trending lower as of late stands one number: a punk productivity level that is holding back economic growth. The trend is important as it stands as likely the primary divider between the acceleration that President Donald Trump has projected against the reality that has been the case for most of the past decade.
"The persistent decline in productivity growth represents one of the most important medium-term global economic challenges," analysts at Moody's said in a lengthy report on the issue released Thursday. "Slow productivity growth, along with population aging, implies that
future output growth will be materially slower than in the past."
Indeed, the productivity issue is not unique to the U.S. Fixes have been elusive, as demographic and other factors collude against generating the type of velocity needed to lift the global economy.
Moody's believes productivity weakness "poses a sizeable downside risk to global economic growth."