How long until we're employed again?

The economy seems to be leveling out, but how long will it take to get employment back to where it was before the Great Recession? Brookings has this frightening chart with some explanation:

In recent months, on this blog, we described the job gap — the number of jobs it would take to return to employment levels from before the Great Recession, while also accounting for the 125,000 people who enter the labor force in a typical month. After today’s employment numbers, the job gap stands at almost 11.3 million jobs.

How long will it take to erase this gap? If future job growth continues at a rate of roughly 208,000 jobs per month, the average monthly job creation for the best year for job creation in the 2000s, it would take 136 months (more than 11 years). In a more optimistic scenario, with 321,000 jobs created per month, the average monthly job creation for the best year in the 1990s, it would take over 57 months (almost 5 years).

Considering that the Administration and Congress seem to be adverse to spending more money for job creation, and the companies seem to still be scared of making investments and taking on more employees, it really does look like we’re only at the beginning of a very, very long employment recovery. A whole decade? Perhaps. As long as Republicans and some Democrats put more emphasis on austerity than recovery (cynically and hypocritically, for most), this is going to be a long, long ride back.

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