The latest employment data release unfortunately shows little signs of a return to “normalcy” any time in the next few years. The economy needs to create 140,000 jobs a month just to keep up with population growth; right now we’re roughly 13 million jobs below trend. The latest data show 216,000 new jobs, so we’re chipping away at that jobs deficit by less than 100,000 jobs a month. So let’s round up to 100,000 a month: that’s 130 months to get back on track, or 10-plus years. It’s not quite that grim; job creation can pick up some, and the retirement of the baby boomers will help create additional demand. The economy stopped adding jobs in January 2007; with luck, we’ll add enough to be back on track in another 6 years: a full “lost decade.”
I’ll post updated graphs later; they make it easy to see what’s going on. Or rather, what’s not: robust recovery has yet to rear its head.