Asymmetrical Information - Megan McArdle

11.02.12

Jobs Report: Not Terrible, Not Really Anything to Celebrate

Job growth has picked up a bit, but not enough to relieve years of labor market stagnation.

The Reuters headline on the new jobs report was frankly amazing:  "U.S. jobs growth quickens, giving Obama some relief".  I'm sure that's true; it's just a pity it wasn't more relief to, say, jobless people. Don't get me wrong; having 171,000 new jobs is better than not having 171,000 new jobs.  But it's not good.  It still leaves us with a 7.9% unemployment rate, and millions more detached from the labor force because they've given up, or marginally attached, or working part-time because no full-time work is available.  The long-term unemployed remain in deep trouble.  And we are still not seeing the kind of robust labor markets that could restore their depreciated human capital, bringing them back to the community of working people.  

It feels repetitive to write this month after month, but this is where we are: an achingly slow recovery that is leaving far too many Americans with far too few options.  It's not new, but it always bears repeating.