Employers added 157,000 jobs in January, fewer than needed to keep up with growth in the working age population and replace the jobs lost during the recession. The unemployment rate ticked up from 7.8% to 7.9% and has hovered slightly above or below 8% for a year. To put that in perspective consider that the average rate in 2007, the last year before the recession was 4.6%.
At the White House Press Secretary Carney excused anemic job growth with the same overwrought language we’ve heard ever month for two years:
When this President took office in 2009 we were… in economic free fall. We were losing – we were hemorrhaging jobs at something like three quarters of a million jobs per month. And, the hole dug by that recession in jobs terms was more than eight and one-half million.
Actually 8.7 million jobs were lost in 2008 and 2009. Because the recovery has been so anemic 40% of those lost jobs still have not been replaced. If job growth continues at the January pace it will take until September 2014 just to replace the jobs lost in 2008 and 2009. But even then the crisis won’t be over because the adult, working age population will have grown by almost 12 million people and two-thirds of them will need jobs.
But more importantly, as the chart above shows every previous period of job loss resolved to a new period of job growth, no matter who was President or what the government did. But in 2013 we continue to endure the worst post-recession job market ever recorded since the labor Department began it’s monthly survey of employers 74 years ago.