05 March 2010

Employment Situation Still Dire

The employment situation is still bad. Jobs continue to disappear staying at or near the post-Great Depression low with no sign of a rapid turn around. Unemployment at 9.7% is still very high, and the ranks of the involuntarily part time workers, and long term (more than 26 weeks) unemployment are also at or near record post-Great Depression highs. The employment per population ratio remains near the post-women's liberation low.

Since the financial crisis began in 2007, we've been losing jobs for 26 months, and the number of jobs in the economy is down more than 6% from the peak.

In all but three other post-World War II recessions, all job losses had been replaced by job gains in 26 months.

In the 1981 recession, 3% of jobs had been lost at the low point, but all but payrolls had recovered to 0.5% below peak jobs after 26 months and all jobs were restored by 27-28 months out.

In the far more gentle 1990 recession, peak job loss was 1.4%, and after 26 months, payrolls were about 0.8% below were they were when they started and all jobs were restored by 30 months out.

The 2001 tech bust showed a similar pattern to the current recession. It took 47 months for the jobs lost in that recession to be fully made up and it was still at the bottom of job losses 26 months out. But, it was far less severe. It destroyed 2% of the jobs in the economy, about a third as many as the current financial crisis driven recession.

If the trend lines of past recessions are any indication, it could easily take until late 2011 or early 2012 for the U.S. economy to recover all the jobs it has lost in this recession.

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