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While White House Trumps Up Its Latest “Recovery Summer” Report, Data Shows Slower Jobs Recovery Today than During the Great Depression

July 14, 2010

Despite an unemployment rate stuck near 10 percent and millions of job losses in the wake of the 2009 stimulus plan, the Obama Administration continues to pat themselves on the back for the comparative trickle of job growth since the start of 2010.  For example, today Vice President Biden will unveil the Council of Economic Advisers’ latest report on “job growth” supposedly resulting from the Democrats’ $1 trillion stimulus.

But the facts show job creation is falling millions short of what Democrats promised when selling their 2009 stimulus plan.  What’s worse, if the anemic pace of job creation so far this year continues, it will take longer to recover the jobs lost in this recession than it took to recover the jobs lost during the Great Depression. 

Data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that it took eight years – until 1937 – for nonfarm employment to match its pre-Depression peak of 35.666 million in 1929:


The current recession started in December 2007, when nonfarm payroll employment was 138 million.  Current employment (for June 2010) is 130.5 million – 7.5 million below that pre-recession peak, or 7.8 million below that peak if you take out more than 300,000 temporary Census jobs included in the current figure.  So far this year, the net change in nonfarm payroll employment (again, not counting temporary Census jobs) has been about 90,000 per month.  If this anemic pace continues, it will take another 87 months, or until September 2017, to get back to the December 2007 level of jobs.  That would be nearly 10 years after the recession started, or almost two years longer than it took the U.S. to recover from job losses during the Great Depression. 

So, while the Vice President continues his “recovery summer” tour, Americans probably are not expecting it will last until September 2017.