Submitted by Taps Coogan on the 25th of June 2018 to The Sounding Line.
The US is in the midst of the longest period of continuous jobs growth since at least World War II. Since the peak in unemployment in 2010, the US has added a record 18.3 million jobs, leading to an exceptionally low unemployment rate of 3.9%.
The difference between this period of jobs growth and previous ones is that, while strong, jobs growth has struggled to keep up with population growth during much of the current expansion. Since 2010, the US population has grown by roughly 18 million people, essentially equivalent to jobs growth of 18.3 million during the same period. The US population is also aging which means the working age portion of the population is shrinking as a percentage of the overall US population. The result of these converging trends (job growth, population aging, and population growth) is that the percentage of Americans who are working is only just now recovering to the level seen before the 2008 financial crisis despite such a long period of economic expansion.
As we first pointed out here, it is worth keeping in mind that the US has not traditionally stayed at a state of full employment for very long. Since World War II, there has been an average of less than four months from the peak in continuous job growth until the start of the next recession.
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