Despite Job Growth, 2.4 Million Fewer Americans Work Than in 2008

Not so recovered


Although somewhat better than expected, the 175,000 net jobs created in May continues the historically tepid jobs growth trend that has come to characterize the now four-year old economic recovery. The result has been continued high unemployment, a vast pool of long-term jobless, and unprecedented number of people who've dropped out of the labor force.

Highlighting the weakness of the May report is the fact that the number of unemployed climbed by nearly the same amount as jobs created — 101,000 — nudging the unemployment rate up to 7.6%.

As a result, there are still 2.4 million fewer people working than there were in January 2008, the previous jobs peak. And since the recovery started in June 2009, the number of jobs has increased a mere 3.9%, well below the post-World War II average of 9.7%.

In fact, had this jobs recovery merely kept pace with average of the previous 10, there would be 7.6 million more people working today, and the unemployment rate would be less than half its current level.