The impact of the recession on jobs

Gennaro Zezza | January 13, 2011

The Economic Policy Institute has produced an interesting analysis on jobs lost and recovered in U.S. post-war recessions.

They show how many months were needed, since the beginning of a recession, to get back to the initial employment level. However, the working population is growing over time, so getting back to the employment level of, say, 12 months ago, would not be sufficient to restore the same employment and unemployment rates.
Employment in Recent U.S. Recessions
In our chart we assume that population grows at its annual average (around 1.4 percent), and calculate how long it took for employment to get “back on track”, i.e. we compare actual employment with what employment should have been, if jobs grew along with active population. With our modified chart, employment got back on track within three years only in the recession which started in 1969. In all other cases, employment was still below its pre-recession path after three years.

In the current (last?) recession, employment still has a long way to go before we can talk of a “recovery.”


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