Quick Takes | Jobs and Unemployment

A solid step in the right direction for the labor market

This morning’s release of the December 2011 employment situation report, which marked four years since the official start of the recession in December 2007, capped off 2011 on a positive note. Both the establishment survey and the household survey showed improvement — the labor market added 200,000 jobs, hours and wages were up, unemployment ticked down, underemployment dropped, and the duration of unemployment spells declined. This is a step in the right direction. However, it is important to note the context:  the jobs deficit left from losses in 2008/2009 remains well over 10 million jobs; even at December’s growth rate, it would still take about seven more years — until around 2019 — to fill the gap and get back to the pre-recession unemployment rate. We need reports this strong and stronger for many years to come to bring our labor market back to health.

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