Gross says focus must be on long-term jobs growth
Bill Gross, managing director of PIMCO, the world's largest bond fund, warned Monday that investors should not expect double-digit returns on financial assets any time soon. Gross, who is known for adding a bit of flair to his economic forecasts, compares America's debt and structural deficiencies on the economic front to the bulging mid-section of a middle-aged man. "The midriff bulge would be a rather kind description of today's debt crisis," Gross said. "No muffin top there — if anything, sovereign balance sheets resemble an overweight diabetic on the verge of a heart attack. Still, if global policymakers could focus on structural as opposed to cyclical financial solutions, new normal growth as opposed to recession might be possible." In fact, Gross uses his column to stress zero percent interest rates have left most bonds, stock and real estate overvalued. He sees two options for the country when considering today's economic malaise: either global recession, or a new, more positive normal that could be created by focusing on structural economic conditions like employment. Gross says politicians have all but ignored the interlink between profits and employees. He claims "long-term profits cannot ultimately grow unless they are partnered with near equal benefits for labor." Gross advises policymakers to stop focusing on cyclical financial solutions and instead focus on the jobs problem, which he says is the result of years of globalization and technological innovation that has depressed American wages and employment. In turn, slowing the entire economy, including consumption of housing and other goods. "Globalization and technological innovation have been extremely negative influences on domestic wages and employment," Gross said. "China and cloud space have favored cheaper consumption, but have been decidedly job unfriendly in developed economies if observers were to be honest about it." Write to Kerri Panchuk.