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What a 7 percent growth rate could look like

Amy Scott Mar 5, 2015
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Chinese Premier Li Keqiang announced a new growth target of 7 percent for the world’s second-largest economy in a speech to the National People’s Congress in Beijing on Thursday. That would be the lowest growth rate there since a brief dip back in 1989-90.

Compare that to the United States, where growth last year was 2.4 percent.

Just for fun, we looked at whether 7 percent growth is even possible here in the United States. How would we start?

“We could all go out and have lots of babies,” says Lakshman Achuthan, co-founder of the Economic Cycle Research Institute.

More babies would mean, eventually, more workers earning and spending money. “But that’s just not going to happen,” he says.

A surge in productivity would also boost growth, but productivity growth was actually negative last year. 

The last time the United States economy grew at a clip of 7 percent or more was 1983, after emerging from two severe back-to-back recessions.