We may be in recovery mode, but U.S. employment still has a long way to go before returning to its prerecession level.
This chart, courtesy of the New York Times, shows economy-wide job changes in this last recession and recovery compared with other recent recessions. Since the Great Recession began in December 2007, the economy has seen a net decline of about 3% in its nonfarm payroll jobs.
As an aside to these statics, take note that the working-age population has continued to grow. If the economy were healthy we would have more jobs today than we had before the recession.
There are now 12.3 million workers looking for work who cannot find it. The tally of those who are “underemployed” — that is, adding in those workers who are part time but want to be employed full time, and workers who want to work but are not looking — is an even larger 23 million.
The NY Times notes, “As bad as all these figures are, it’s worth remembering that job markets in the decade following a financial crisis are always terrible.”
Believe it or not, layoffs were far worse and lasted much longer in the aftermath of the financial crises that Finland and Sweden in 1991 and Spain in 1977, not to mention the recovery from our own Great Depression.
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