Krugman: Recovery means adding 300,000 jobs a month
Paul Krugman builds a benchmark:
I thought it might be useful to create a sort of benchmark for the level of job growth that would really count as good news. I start from the fact that we’ve lost about 8 million jobs since the recession began — that’s the official number plus the preliminary estimate of the coming benchmark revision. I then take EPI’s estimate that we need to add 127,000 jobs a month. EPI points out that when you put these numbers together, they say that to return to pre-crisis unemployment within two years we’d have to add 580,000 jobs a month. That’s not going to happen.
But let’s set a more modest goal: return to more or less full employment in 5 years –which means seven lean years of depressed employment. To keep up with population growth over those 7 years, the United States would have had to add 84 times 127,000 or 10.668 million jobs. (If that sounds high, bear in mind that we added more than 20 million jobs over the 8 Clinton years). Add in the need to make up lost ground, and we’re at around 18 million jobs over the next five years — or 300,000 a month.
"It sort of puts that wonderful report that we only lost 11,000 jobs in perspective," Krugman concludes. I think I need a drink.
Graph credit: Steve Benen/The Washington Monthly.
December 10, 2009; 4:30 PM ET
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