The Time for Infrastructure Investment Is ASAP
Jan Hatzius and Paul Krugman

The Output Gap

Ezra Klein - The output gap in two graphs

Ezra Klein sends us to Neil Irwin and Alicia Parlapiano:

The output gap:

Compared with a healthy economy, about 7 million working-age people and 5 percent of the nation’s industrial capacity are sitting idle, not producing what they could. The economy is growing again, but at a rate — less than 2 percent in recent months — that’s too slow to keep up with a population that keeps increasing and workers who keep getting more efficient.

This is the output gap, the divide between the amount the United States can produce and what it is actually producing. The gap, currently $900 billion, explains why we feel so miserable more than a year into what is technically classified as an economic recovery.