The U.S. economy added 227,000 jobs in February vs. expectations for 206,000, continuing a recent trend of decent hiring activity. The unemployment rate held at 8.3%.
But America remains mired in the longest jobs recession since the Great Depression. It’s been 49 months since the U.S. hit peak employment in January 2008. And with nonfarm payrolls still 5.33 million below their old high, the jobs slump will continue for several more years.
The previous jobs recession record — 47 months — came during and after the comparatively mild 2001 recession, which saw unemployment climb to only 6.3%. The average job recovery time since 1980 is 29 months, not including the current slump.
The labor market won’t truly return to health until some 10 million positions are created to rehire all those who lost their jobs and to absorb new workers.
The longest jobs recession in decades coincides, not coincidentally, with the longest stretch of anemic economic performance on record.