According to this article this morning from CNN Money, the official BLS Jobs Report for May, due this Friday morning, will show that the US economy will finally have recovered all the jobs lost in the Great Recession:
Set your sights on this number: 113,000.
That’s how many jobs the U.S. economy needs to hit its break-even point, to finally recover all the jobs lost in the financial crisis.
Get ready, because we’re about to get there this Friday.
That’s when the U.S. Department of Labor will release its May jobs report, and the outlook is rosy. Economists surveyed by CNNMoney expect the U.S. economy added 200,000 jobs in May.
I guess that’s the good news. But as the article also notes, it is a purely symbolic measure:
Breaking even is a key milestone, but was a long time coming. It took just two years to wipe out 8.7 million American jobs, but it took more than four years to recover them all, making this the longest jobs recovery on record since the Department of Labor started tracking the data in 1939.
Plus, the jobs that have returned are not necessarily the same ones we lost, nor are they in the same regions.
Here’s the key – through all these four plus years of job growth to get back to where we were at the start of the Great Recession, we have been falling behind as it takes roughly 90,000 new jobs each month just to keep up with the new people entering the job market each month. If we take it back to the beginning of the Great Recession in December 2007, we are still in the hole on needed jobs by a bit over 7M (6.5 (years) x 12 (months per year) x 90K (jobs per month) = 7,020,000.)
The current month report from ADP continues the good news/bad news. The good news is 179K new jobs in the private sector (though fewer than “economists predicted.”) The bad news (although painted as good news by Reuters):
U.S. companies hired far fewer workers than expected in May, but an acceleration in services sector growth supported views the economy was regaining strength after sagging early this year.
While other data on Wednesday showed the trade deficit hit its widest point in two years in April, a rise in imports to record highs underscored the economy’s resilience.
Why is the increase in service sector jobs bad news? Because service sector jobs tend to be lower wage.
This blog post from the Washington Post’s Wonkblog from 8/31/2012 covers this:
The United States lost about 8.1 million jobs after the recession began in late 2007. The economy has since recovered about 3.3 million of those jobs, starting in early 2010. That, in itself, should alarm policymakers. The labor market is still in a deep, deep hole.
But in some respects, the situation is even bleaker than that. The types of jobs that have come back so far don’t seem to be paying as well as those that were lost.
A new report from the National Employment Law Project finds that low-wage jobs, paying $13.83 per hour or less, have dominated the recovery to date. In many cases, they appear to be replacing higher-paying jobs that were lost in the first place.
That article was not the first time the Post had noticed the low wage aspect of the “recovery” as I noted in this blog post from April 2011.
The CNN article linked at the top of the page also showed a little “moving of the goalposts” in the world of economic and jobs reporting. Buried way down at the bottom of the page were these two paragraphs: