Economic StagNation

Steven Cash Nickerson, the president and CFO of PDS Tech, the nation’s fourth-largest engineering and IT staffing firm, pursues a broad range of professional, philanthropic, and recreational interests. He has earned both a JD and an MBA from Washington University in St. Louis, and in 2013 was named a distinguished law alumnus by the university’s law school. Steven Cash Nickerson’s position at PDS Tech gives him special insight into the ongoing development of the American labor market, and his 2013 book, StagNation: Understanding the New Normal in Employment, distills his perspective and understanding of the country’s current economic problems, their causes, and the best way to restore fluidity to the American job economy.

StagNation opens with a brief exploration of the recent financial crisis faced by the United States. Other than noting that its source can be traced to the financial markets, the book doesn’t point fingers. Instead, it looks at the recovery from the recession and especially focuses on the aftereffects, which are still dragging the economy down.

Hiring, according to StagNation, does not result from the president exhorting employers to have confidence in the economy and start hiring. The book also asserts that employers do not hire because they have received tax cuts. Rather, employers hire when they need more help, and they need more help when sales are up. Credit stimulates sales, and StagNation lauds the Federal Reserve for keeping the cost of credit low. However, it points out that current unprecedented restrictions on credit, an overreaction to the recession, limit the ability of businesses to grow and thus to hire.

In addition, the book addresses such issues as foreign labor competition and the sometimes counterproductive efforts of the domestic bureaucracy. It offers prudent advice not only to governments and employers but also to job seekers as they work to regenerate America’s once-vibrant economy.

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