Evolution of the “Jobs Gap” and Possible Scenarios for Growth
January 9, 2015
Each month, The Hamilton Project examines the “jobs 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 also absorbing the people who enter the potential labor force each month. As of the end of December 2014, our nation faces a jobs gap of 4.6 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. The solid line shows the net number of jobs lost since the Great Recession began. The broken lines track how long it will take to close the jobs gap under alternative assumptions about the rate of job creation going forward. If the economy adds about 184,000 jobs per month, which is the average monthly rate of growth since the jobs recovery began in March 2010, then it will take until December 2017 to close the jobs gap. Given a more optimistic rate of 246,000 jobs per month, which is the average monthly rate of job creation over the last 12 months, the economy will reach pre-recession employment levels by January 2017.
Use our Jobs Gap Calculator to estimate different scenarios of job growth.
The Hamilton Project calculations use data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.