Recovered Jobs

By Isaac Cohen*

After more than five years, the US economy has recovered almost 8 million jobs lost during the last recession, returning to the peak of January 2008.  This recovery is now the longest since the end of the Second World War, because it took double the amount of time to recover the level of employment, by contrast with the recovery from the recession of 2001.

The creation of 217,000 new jobs in May, together with three successive months of over 200,000 of monthly job creation was not seen in 14 years. The jobless rate remained at 6.3 percent, down 1.2 percent from a year ago and the lowest level since September 2008.

However, job growth remains below the rate of population growth and the participation of the population in the work force, in May, declined to 62.8 percent, from 66.2 percent in 2008, the lowest level in more than thirty years. Also, wages increased 2.1 percent from a year ago, barely above the rate of inflation.

Since the start of the Great Recession, there were more job losses in higher paying sectors, such as manufacturing with a loss of 1.6 million and government employment decreasing by 1 million jobs. By contrast, 941,000 new, lower paying jobs were created in hotels and restaurants.

*International analyst and consultant. Commentator on economic and financial issues for CNN en Español TV and radio. Former Director, UNECLAC.


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