The U.S. will need more immigrants and a sensible trade policy if it's going to achieve breakout economic growth, Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan said Thursday.
Kaplan made his pitch for an aggressive but responsible approach to immigration during an interview with CNBC, saying that demographics are one of the key reasons thedomestic economy has been stuck in a mediocre growth pattern.
"One of the big challenges we face in the United States and one of the reasons why GDP growth has been so sluggish is our population is aging and our workforce growth has been slowing," he said in an interview from the Fed's annual conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Kaplan is relatively optimistic on growth, expecting GDP gains in excess of 2 percent this year. However, he said pockets of weakness need to be addressed.
"There's a big skills gap in this country. There's hundreds of thousands if not millions of jobs that employers can't fill, and everywhere I go I hear about this," he said. "We need to grow the workforce if we're going to grow the GDP."
The comments come during a national debate over how strict immigration policy should be.