The latest jobs report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the United States economy added 217,000 jobs in May, which means that the country has recovered all the jobs it lost during the Great Recession. But don’t get too excited just yet.
This milestone report is belied by the fact that unemployment rates still hover at a consistent 6.3 percent, and the country would need to add 113,000 to surpass the pre-2008 recession jobs number. In order to reach a healthy place, the economy would need to add as much as an additional 7 million jobs.
The United States lost 8.7 million jobs during the most recent recession, leaving the U.S economy with 7.6 million unemployed people as of January 2014. Today there are about 9.8 million unemployed Americans in the United States. This 2 million-person increase is more statistically significant than it was in 2008, because today, there are more working-class Americans seeking unemployment than there were six years ago.
The most recent jobs report does not take into account this large number of citizens entering the labor force, nor the labor market gap created by those people.
But what the report does show is that the United States is on a slow journey to economic recovery
As of May 2014, 3.4 million Americans were reportedly unemployed for six months or more, and 7.3 million Americans worked in part-time jobs, but hoped to work in full time positions.
Although the recovery is slow, the average monthly job growth for 2014 is significantly higher than it’s been in the recent past. This year, the average monthly growth hovers around 215,600, whereas it was at just 174,000 in 2011. This latest jobs report also marks the 51st consecutive month for private-sector job gains.
“We’re moving in the right direction, but we have a lot more work to do,” Secretary of Labor Tom Perez said. “There are way too many people who are still on the sidelines.”