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Job Growth in May Good, but Not Good Enough

“A private jobs gap of 5,650,000 is unacceptable,” says House economic leader.

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Washington, June 5, 2015 | comments

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Congressman Kevin Brady of Texas, the Vice Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, made the following statement upon today’s release of Employment Situation Report for May 2015 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which reported an increase of 280,000 nonfarm payroll jobs (262,000 private payroll jobs) and the unemployment rate ticked up to 5.5 percent.

“It’s good news that an additional 280,000 Americans found work in May, but unacceptable that the Obama recovery’s private jobs gap is still north of 5 ½ million.   Despite today’s report, the Obama private jobs gap has gotten bigger, not smaller over the past year.”

  • Private-sector Jobs Gap.  Compared with the average of other post-1960 recoveries lasting more than one year, the private-sector jobs gap stands at 5,650,000.  Compared with the Reagan recovery of the 1980s, the gap stands at 12,149,000 – a new high.
  • Closing the Gap.  Eliminating the Obama recovery’s private-sector jobs gap compared with the average of post-1960 recoveries by the end of 2016 would require the addition of 439,000 private-sector jobs in each of the next 19 months.  Closing the gap compared with the Reagan recovery would require 846,000 private-sector jobs in each of the next 19 months.
  • At This Pace.  Private-sector job gains have averaged 228,000 over the past six months.  At that pace the private-sector jobs gap would be reduced by 29 percent (1,632,000) to 4,018,000 by the end of 2016.
  • Labor Force Participation Rate.  The labor force participation rate rose by 0.1 percentage point to 62.9 percent, remaining near 30-year lows and well below its pre-recession level of 66.0 percent.
  • Employment-to-Population Ratio.  May’s employment-to-population ratio of 59.4 percent means that it has finally regained its level when the recession ended in June 2009, but remains significantly worse than the 62.7 percent in December 2007 when the recession began.
  • Unemployment Rate.  The unemployment rate would be 9.6 percent if the labor force participation rate was at the level it was when President Obama took office (65.7 percent).
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