I am fortunate to be in no immediate danger of losing my career. I suspect that’s true of many readers. It’s easy from these lofty perches to wonder what’s so urgent. Things are getting better, after all, aren’t they?
Well no, they’re not. It’s true that the economy is not hemorrhaging jobs, but the meager job growth experienced since the crash has been too slow to keep up with the natural increase in the US population. For the economy merely to tread water, it must generate between 100,000 and 150,000 new jobs every month. Our average job creation since the crash has been less than that. Here’s the graph of the employment-population ratio since 2006 using the official data from the St. Louis Federal Reserve:
There are now 25 million unemployed (including about 5 million underemployed). That’s roughly 16% of the able-bodied work force. And if you hold a ruler up to the rightward tail of the line to smooth out the noise and the jiggles, you will see that, rather than flat, the employment-ratio trend line slopes downward. If this is not a jobs emergency now 3 1/2 years after the crash, what would a jobs emergency look like?