The U.S. economy added 171,000 people to nonfarm payrolls in October — including 184,000 in the private sector — the Labor Department said on Friday. The government also said 84,000 more jobs were created in August and September than initially estimated.The unemployment rate ticked up to 7.9%.
Now let’s put those numbers in context:
1. If we suddenly had a string of months where job growth was the same as in October, it would take 7 more years — until 2019 ! — to get back to the Bush unemployment low of 4.4%. Even if we averaged 210,000 jobs a month, we wouldn’t close jobs gap until 2021.
2. We are now 41 months into the recovery, and we have recovered just 55% of the 8.9 million lost private sector jobs from the Great Recession. During the Reagan recovery, it took just 10 months.
8. The broader U-6 gauge, which also measures underemployment, dropped just a smidgen to 14.6%.
9. Employment growth has averaged 157,000 per month thus far in 2012, about the same as the average monthly gain of 153,000 in 2011. Excruciatingly slow progress.
10. The average duration of unemployment actually jumped to 40.2 week from 39.8 weeks. And the percent unemployed 27 weeks or more surged to 40.6% from 40.1%
Bottom line: Anemic economic growth of around 2% not only puts the U.S. economy at heightened risk of recession, but is also too slow to a) generate enough jobs to quickly close the jobs gap, and b) boost take-home pay. Anyone satisfied with or hyping this report does a great disservice to the America worker.