Quick Takes | Jobs and Unemployment

Four Years of Recovery Marked by Faster Jobs Growth, But the Economy is Still In Second Gear

The June 2013 employment report, released this morning by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, marked four years since the official start of the recovery in June 2009 with stronger than recent job growth—the economy added 195,000 jobs in June. Furthermore, there was an upward revision to prior months’ data, bringing the average job growth of the last three months to 196,000.

The good news is that this is a faster rate of growth than we have been seeing—the average growth rate for the previous twelve months was 169,000. However, the current pace of job growth is still slower than what’s needed for economy to return to full employment any time soon. At this pace, it will still be more than five years until we get back to the pre-recession unemployment rate. While any sign of an improving labor market is encouraging, it’s important to keep in mind that we are in still in second gear, not yet at highway speeds. For example, while the unemployment rate held steady at 7.6% in June, the “underemployment rate”—the U6 measure of labor underutilization—increased a half a percentage point to 14.3%, due to an increase in the number of workers who have part-time jobs but want full time jobs, and an increase in the number of unemployed workers who want a job but have given up looking for work.

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