Understanding the Magnitude of Our Economic Problem

EXPERT COMMENTARY

Understanding the Magnitude of Our Economic Problem

By Keith Hall |
Nov 05, 2012

By now, most Americans know that the past few years have seen the weakest economic recovery in our history. What most Americans don't know is that in order to bring unemployment down to the levels where it was before the recession, we'd need to create 325,000 jobs every month for the next four years—an unprecedented feat.

After a second quarter scare when the labor market and GDP growth dropped off sharply as the presidential campaign shifted into high gear, we've now seen monthly job growth of about 170,000 over the past four months. Since unemployment peaked in late 2009, the economy has added an average of 130,000 jobs per month, just enough to keep up with the growth of the population. Since 2007, the United States economy has shed 4.2 million jobs. Meanwhile, our population has gone up by 12.5 million—10.5 million of whom are working age.

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