Our Economic Recovery

The Congressional Budget Office had some remarks last Thursday.

More than four and a half years after the end of the recession, employment has risen sluggishly—much more slowly than it grew, on average, during the four previous recoveries that lasted more than one year.  At the same time, the unemployment rate has fallen only partway back to its prerecession level…and a significant part of that improvement is attributable to a decline in labor force participation that has occurred as an unusually large number of people have stopped looking for work….  Moreover, the rate of long-term unemployment—the percentage of the labor force that has been out of work for more than 26 consecutive weeks—remains extraordinarily high.


CBO estimates that GDP was 7½% smaller than potential (maximum sustainable) GDP at the end of the recession; by the end of 2013, less than one-half of that gap had been closed.  With output growing so slowly, payrolls have increased slowly as well—and the slack in the labor market that can be seen in the elevated unemployment rate and in part of the reduction in the rate of labor force participation mirrors the gap between actual and potential GDP.

And [emphasis in the original]

Employment at the end of 2013 was about 6 million jobs short of where it would be if the unemployment rate had returned to its prerecession level and if the participation rate had risen to the level it would have attained without the current cyclical weakness. Those factors account roughly equally for the shortfall.

Any questions about the effectiveness of the Obama administration’s economic policies?

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