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In the 25 years before the Great Recession of 2008-2009, the United States experienced two brief, mild recessions and two strong, long expansions.This time, however, the return to growth has been much more difficult.America's recovery since the Great Recession has been inconsistent, with growth repeatedly picking up and then sputtering out. In fact, the U.S. has not experienced three consecutive quarters of 3 percent growth in a decade. Six years after the crisis, some prominent economists are asking whether insufficient investment and/or waning gains from technological innovation have pushed the global economy into a "new normal" of lower growth and slow, if any, gains in living standards.Productivity can be enhanced by capital investment, technological innovation and improvements in the knowledge and skills of the labor force, though economists disagree on which has the largest impact.Given this, America's declining productivity growth – which has averaged just 0.7 percent annually since 2010 – has led some observers to blame the slowdown on inadequate technological advances. To encourage more robust growth and the associated improvements in living standards, governments should ensure that the private sector has sufficient incentives for innovation, entrepreneurship and investment in physical and human capital.
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