The jobs report released today underscores the fact that we still need all macroeconomic guns blazing to boost the economy. The labor market added 169,000 jobs in August, and a downward revision of 74,000 to earlier months’ data brought the average monthly growth rate of the last three months to just 148,000 jobs. At this rate, it would take until well into 2021 to fill our gap of 8.3 million jobs and return to a healthy labor market. Furthermore, though the unemployment rate dropped in August, it was for all the wrong reasons—the labor force participation rate dropped to its low of the downturn, 63.2 percent. Remember, jobless workers are not counted as being part of the labor force unless they are actively looking for work. If our 3.8 million “missing workers” (workers who have dropped out of, or never entered, the labor force due to weak job opportunities in the Great Recession and its aftermath) were in the labor force looking for work, the unemployment rate would be 9.5 percent instead of 7.3 percent.
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