How big is the job gap? Let’s just say this one goes to 11

President Obama’s jobs plan, if implemented, would boost employment by around 4.3 million jobs (yes, 1.6 million of those jobs would come from continuing temporary policies that are already in place and supporting the economy today, but the new initiatives alone would generate 2.6 million jobs).

How do we judge such large figures? Here’s a benchmark: right now the gap in the U.S. labor market is around 11 million jobs when you take into account both the number of jobs we are down since the start of the recession and the number we should have gained to keep up with normal growth in the working-age population. Eleven million is the number of jobs we need — and Obama has just proposed a plan that could take a big bite out of that gap.  This plan is a vital step in the direction of providing a solution that matches the scale of the ongoing crisis.