A PhD look at the economy

By Julia DeRogatis

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By Julia DeRogatis | Editor

May 2, 2014

On Friday, April 11, Dr. Mark Schniepp, the Director of the California Economic Forecast in Santa Barbara, came to Dos Pueblos during fifth period to give a lecture to AP Economics students regarding the state of the economy and the future significance of its trends.

By the end of the talk it was clear that, despite common misconceptions, the economy is in fact recovered and experiencing continuous growth and high levels of productivity.

Dr. Schniepp began his presentation by relaying that the U.S.’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has experienced 18 quarters of growth. He showed graphs of commercial sales, retail sales, company productivity, and other indicators, all illustrating the upward trend of the economy.

The current unemployment rate for the United States is 6.7%, which is a good statistic considering that the U.S.’s March 2013 unemployment rate was 7.5% and that the current Eurozone unemployment rate is 11.9%.

A few statistics stood out in particular: firm productivity and business spending for equipment and software are both extremely high.

However, these uplifting facts do not come without their own set of downsides. 

Dr. Schniepp noted that this increase in productivity is due in part to companies investing in technology and cutting their workforce.

According to an Oxford study, 47% of all jobs in the U.S. could be automated in the next twenty years. The world, and its workforce, are going to look very different when the current group of high school students reach their 30’s.

Dr. Schniepp predicts that job success in the future will likely come to those who possess creativity, innovation, collaboration and critical thinking skills, and problem solving abilities.

While the economy is maneuvering into a strong position, it diverges from past economic trends due to the large presence of technology. While unemployment is expected to fall in the coming months, Dr. Schniepp still has some advice for students: “make yourself indispensable.”


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