Quick Takes | Jobs and Unemployment

A massive jobs gap

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The labor market is now roughly 11.1 million jobs below what would be needed to return to pre-recession of unemployment. And even that number understates the slack in the labor market because it fails to take into account the decline in hours worked for those who have kept their jobs.
At the start of the recession in December 2007, the length of the average work week in the private sector was 34.7 hours. In February, it was 33.8 hours. The decline in the total number of hours worked in the private sector since the start of the recession attributable to reduced hours alone is equivalent to 2.8 million jobs.
This means that the “effective” gap in the labor market is on the order of 13.9 million jobs. –From Heidi Shierholz’ February Jobs Picture.


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