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From the September / October issue of The Quarter Roll

Have we recovered?

The Great Recession, which began in December 2007 and caused the most severe job loss this country has seen in seven decades, officially ended in June 2009. As we mark the two-year anniversary of the official end of the recession as determined by the National Bureau of Economic Research, the following 10 facts should be noted:

1. The real gap in the labor market is now around 11 million jobs.
2. Job growth this recovery outpaces that following the 2001 recession, but is still too slow.
3. The loss of public-sector jobs is a huge obstacle to growth in this recovery.
4. Most of the improvement seen this recovery consists of a decline in layoffs, not an increase in hiring.
5. The current problem is not that we lack the right workers, its that we lack enough job openings.
6. The share of the working-age population with a job has not yet improved.
7. "Underemployment" has also improved very little in the recovery.
8. Unemployed workers continue to face near-record spells of unemployment.
9. Racial and ethnic minorities have fared worse than whites in both the recession and the recovery.
10. Wage growth remains extremely low.


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