El futuro del PIB real de Estados Unidos

CAMBRIDGE – Las perspectivas para la economía estadounidense a corto plazo han mejorado, gracias a la rápida recuperación de la situación patrimonial de las familias en 2013 y al fin del freno fiscal derivado del aumento de las tasas impositivas en 2012. Ahora Estados Unidos tiene una chance de elevar el PIB per cápita real (ajustado por inflación) a un ritmo mejor que el raquítico 1,7% promedio que viene manteniendo desde que la economía retomó la senda del crecimiento a mediados de 2009.

Por supuesto, no hay garantías de un aumento considerable del PIB en 2014. En primer lugar, dicho aumento exigiría contrarrestar la suba de los tipos de interés a largo plazo que se produjo después de que en junio la Reserva Federal anunció sus planes de poner fin al programa de compra de bonos este año. Además, la amenaza de un incremento del déficit presupuestario al final de la década (y consiguientemente, de la deuda pública) desalienta la inversión y el gasto de los consumidores.

Pero miremos más allá de 2014 y preguntémonos qué sucederá con el crecimiento de la economía estadounidense a más largo plazo. Según previsiones de la Oficina de Presupuesto del Congreso (OPC), el ritmo de crecimiento del PIB real per cápita pasará del 2,1% anual de los 40 años previos al inicio de la última recesión a apenas 1,6% entre 2023 y 2088. La principal razón de esta desaceleración será la disminución del porcentaje de población empleada, como consecuencia del envejecimiento de la sociedad estadounidense, la reducción de la natalidad y un menor ritmo de inclusión de las mujeres en la fuerza laboral. Si bien entre 1970 y 2010 la cantidad de personas con empleo aumentó a un promedio de 1,6% anual, la OPC calcula que en las próximas décadas esa cifra se reducirá a apenas 0,4%.

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