The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today that the economy created 155,000 jobs last month, keeping the unemployment rate hovering just below 8 percent. As economist Justin Wolfers noted, the pace of job creation has all the signs of a too slow, but still steady, economic recovery.
However, as the Economic Policy Institute noted, the economy is still 4 million jobs away from even getting back to pre-recession employment:
We are still 4 million jobs away from getting back to pre-recession employment — we’ve only recovered about half the jobs we lost.
Add in the jobs we should have been creating in a normal economy, and we’re actually about 9 million jobs in the hole, the EPI writes.
“At December’s growth rate the labor market will not fill in that gap until the end of 2021,” the EPI writes.
With that number in mind, policy makers should be focusing on job creation. Instead, deficit hysteria has dominated the political conversation. In fact, America could see an austerity package this year larger than those implemented by several European countries, including Great Britian, which is at risk of a triple-dip recession.
Budget cuts last year cost government employees 68,000 jobs at the federal, state, and local level. Further austerity will only increase that number, providing a needless drag on growth that is already too low.