America is at a crossroads. Today’s jobs report shows that two years into recovery the U.S. economy is still woefully underperforming, adding only 120,000 new jobs in March, about half the rate of job growth of the previous three months which were, themselves, somewhat disappointing for this stage of recovery.
Perhaps the most striking aspect of the jobs report is the extent to which the labor market was “little changed,” an impression the report returns to repeatedly. For example, the unemployment rate at 8.2 percent, still two full percentage points higher than the peak during the 2001 recession, was “little changed.” Other examples, with italics added:
- The number of unemployed persons (12.7 million) was “little changed in March.”
- “Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for adult men (7.6 percent), adult women (7.4 percent), teenagers (25.0 percent), whites (7.3 percent), blacks (14.0 percent), and Hispanics (10.3 percent) showed little or no change.”
- “The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) was essentially unchanged at 5.3 million in March.”
- “The civilian labor force participation rate (63.8 percent) and the employment-population ratio (58.5 percent) were little changed in March.”
- “In March, 2.4 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, essentially unchanged from a year earlier.”
- “Among the marginally attached, there were 865,000 discouraged workers in March, about the same as a year earlier.”