Equitable Growth’s recent ‘Econ 101’ assessed the state of the U.S. economy and recovery for Capitol Hill staff


The Washington Center for Equitable Growth hosted a briefing last week—part of a series we call “Econ 101”—presenting insight on the state of the U.S. economy and how the current recovery from the COVID-19 recession compares both to recoveries in other countries and to U.S. recoveries from previous recessions. The briefing also delved into the possible medium- and long-term consequences for the U.S. economy stemming from the recent recession and recovery.

This “Econ 101,” presented by Equitable Growth Senior Fellows Austin Clemens and Michael Linden, came at a pivotal moment as many policymakers struggle to make sense of current economic conditions and draw useful lessons for future economic policy. The state of the economy can be difficult to interpret, as evidenced by the fact that so many economic observers mistakenly predicted a recession throughout 2023. Making matters even more murky is the seeming disconnect between the public’s economic sentiment and the traditional data we use to measure economic performance.

Clemens and Linden guided congressional staffers from both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate through the thicket of data and competing narratives to help shed some light on the economy’s underlying strengths and weaknesses. The briefing touched on overall growth and key elements of the labor market—including how the U.S. labor market is delivering for women and people of color—as well as other important metrics such as wealth and income inequality. Most of these metrics point to an economy and a labor market that is performing remarkably well, especially for low- and moderate-wage workers in the United States.

Clemens also discussed what the economic evidence tells us about the long-term effects of deep economic downturns, why it’s so important to protect workers and their families from those long-term effects, and what lessons we might draw from the U.S. response to the COVID-19 recession.

Economic policies can have dramatic and persistent consequences for millions of people, especially in response to recessions and other economic crises. Making good choices starts from having a good understanding of what’s happening in the economy right now and how we got here. Equitable Growth’s recent “Econ 101” provided an evidence-based approach for grappling with today’s most consequential economic debates.

Review the presentation slides from the February 6 congressional briefing to learn more.


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