Evolution of the “Job Gap” and Possible Scenarios for Growth
May 3, 2013
Each month, The Hamilton Project examines the “job gap,” which is the number of jobs that the U.S. economy needs to create in order to return to pre-recession employment levels while absorbing the people who enter the labor force each month. As of April, our nation faces a “jobs gap” of 10.0 million jobs. This chart shows how the jobs gap has evolved since the start of the Great Recession in December 2007, and how long it will take to close under different assumptions for job growth. If the economy adds about 208,000 jobs per month, which was the average monthly rate for the best year of job creation in the 2000s, then it will take until April 2020 to close the jobs gap. Given a more optimistic rate of 321,000 jobs per month, which was the average monthly rate of the best year of job creation in the 1990s, the economy will reach pre-recession employment levels by December 2016.