The Need For A Jobs Program

Talk of economic recovery distracts attention from the fact that this recovery largely remains a jobless one. 

The chart below, taken from Catherine Rampell’s New York Times blog, shows the number of months it has taken for the US economy to restore its pre-recession number of nonfarm payroll jobs in our six most recent economic recoveries.  


As Rampell explains:

The chart above shows economic job changes in this last recession and recovery compared with other recent ones; the red line represents the current cycle. Since the downturn began in December 2007, the economy has had a net decline of about 1.1 percent in its nonfarm payroll jobs. And that does not account for the fact that the working-age population has continued to grow, meaning that if the economy were healthy there should be more jobs today than there were before the recession.

Current economic dynamics make clear that it is time to stop waiting for market forces to create a jobs recovery.  We need a real jobs program, one that will not just generate jobs, but living wage jobs that involve the production of needed goods and services. That, not deficit reduction, is what should be at the top of our political agenda.