Press Releases

News from EPI Four Years into the Recovery and We’re Just a Fifth of the Way Out of the Hole Left by the Great Recession

The June 2013 employment report, released this morning by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, marked four years since the official start of the recovery in June 2009 with stronger job growth than in recent months. The economy added 195,000 jobs in June and an upward revision to prior months’ data brought the average monthly job growth of the last three months to 196,000. This rate is an improvement, as the average growth rate for the previous 12 months was 169,000. However, at the current pace of job growth, it will be more than five years until the economy returns to the pre-recession unemployment rate.

In her analysis, EPI economist Heidi Shierholz notes that the jobs report shows how little progress we have made over the last four years towards undoing the damage caused by the Great Recession. “One of the best measures for assessing that progress is the employment-to-population ratio (EPOP), which is simply the share of the working-age population with a job. The EPOP is currently 58.7 percent, up one-tenth of a percentage point from May but still 4.6 percentage points below the EPOP of 63.3 percent in early 2007,” Shierholz writes. “The unemployment rate held steady at 7.6 percent in June, but the “underemployment rate”—the U6 measure of labor underutilization—increased a half a percentage point to 14.3 percent. This was due to a 554,000 increase in the number of “marginally attached” workers (jobless workers who want a job and are available to work but have given up actively seeking work) and a 322,000 increase in the number of workers who want full-time jobs but have had to settle for part-time work. The number of such “involuntary” part-time workers now stands at 8.2 million; there has been no improvement in this number in the last year and a half.”