“To think an economy of $20 trillion can grow at 3 percent or 3.5 percent, consistently, I think, is hard to believe,” Rubenstein told “Squawk Box,” citing labor-force dynamics.
The low U.S. employment rate — which held steady at 4.1 percent for last month — is not enough of a factor, he said. “You don’t have that many people in the workforce relative to what we’ve had historically.”
The labor participation rate, the percentage of the civilian population working or actively looking for work, has been on the decline since 2000, hovering around levels last since in 1978, according to the St. Louis Fed.
“I hope I’m wrong. I hope we do grow at a higher rate. But I just don’t think we will,” he said, noting the population is aging with more baby boomers retiring.