Quick Takes | Jobs and Unemployment

Welcome momentum in the labor market, hoping for more

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March showed the jobs recovery unmistakably gaining traction, with the addition of 216,000 jobs and the unemployment rate ticking down to 8.8% as more unemployed people found work.
The labor force participation rate held steady at its lowest point of the recession (and its lowest point in twenty-seven years) meaning that the millions of workers who dropped out of (or never entered) the labor force during the downturn continue to wait on the sidelines, not yet feeling optimistic enough about the prospect of finding a job to begin looking for work. But all in all, the March report shows extremely welcome momentum in the labor market.
The reality check in this report is the larger context; given the size of the gap in the labor market, even at March’s job growth rate, it would still take until around 2018 to get back to the pre-recession unemployment rate. In other words, as a snapshot, this report looks quite good, but given where we are, we need to see this and more in the coming months. –Heidi Shierholz


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