The labor market added 236,000 jobs in February, marking three years of job growth since the low point of the Great Recession in February 2010. The strong showing in February is welcome, but given the jobs deficit of 8.9 million jobs, even at February’s growth rate we wouldn’t get back to the pre-recession unemployment rate until 2017.
The unemployment rate dropped to 7.7 percent, its lowest level in the aftermath of the downturn. This increase was not due to a larger share of the working-age population landing jobs, however, as labor force participation slipped back to its lowest point of the downturn.
All in all this was a strong report, but we need reports this strong and stronger for several years to get back to health in the labor market.