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Slow-Grow Economy Likely the New Normal

Brandon Hollingsworth, WUOT News

Tennessee's economy is expected to grow at a slow pace in 2020, much in the same fashion it did in 2019. And in 2018. In fact, the most recent years of economic expansion have been slow for Tennessee and the nation. During his 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump pledged GDP growth on the order for four to six percent, but actual growth has been closer to two to three percent -- and that's not a bad thing.

Economist Matt Murray is the lead author of an annual report to thr governor's office, taking a measure of Tennessee's economic well-being. In this conversation with WUOT's Brandon Hollingsworth, Murray says slow and steady is not only acceptable, but inevitable.

More robust economic expansion is unrealistic, Murray says. "It's simply not possible without really rapid growth in the workforce, [and] without very strong gains in productivity...It is absolutely impossible with the fundamentals today to, on a sustained basis, engineer economic growth above three percent," he says.

Murray outlines the findings of this year's report, including a dive into how poor health affects personal and state economics.

READ THE FULL REPORT: An Economic Report to the Governor of the State of Tennessee, 2020 (opens as a PDF)