2012 starts with a surprisingly positive labor report. This morning’s release of the January 2012 employment situation report showed a labor market where all the moving parts seemed to be moving in a solidly good direction. Strong payroll employment growth was matched by a falling unemployment rate, strong employment growth in the household survey and a growing share of the population with jobs (after removing the effect of new population weights). It’s important to keep this growth in context, however – the jobs deficit is so large that even at January’s growth rate, it would still take until 2019 to get back to full employment. We need reports this strong and stronger for the next several years to get back to good health in the labor market.
– By Heidi Shierholz, EPI economist