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Evolution of the Jobs Gap and Possible Scenarios for Growth

Any replication of this chart should be credited to The Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution.

Evolution of the Jobs Gap and Possible Scenarios for Growth

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 March 2015, our nation faces a jobs gap of 4.0 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. 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 191,000 jobs per month, which is the average monthly rate of growth since the jobs recovery began in March 2010, then it will take until September 2017 to close the jobs gap. Given a more optimistic rate of 261,000 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 November 2016.

Use our Jobs Gap Calculator to estimate different scenarios of job growth.
 

The Hamilton Project calculations use data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


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Evolution of the Jobs Gap and Possible Scenarios for Growth

April 3, 2015 • Charts

Each month, The Hamilton Project calculates America’s “jobs gap,” or 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 newly enter the labor force each month. As of the end of March 2015, our nation faces a jobs gap of 4.0 million jobs.

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Expanding Employment Opportunities: Photo Gallery

March 11, 2015 • Photo Galleries

On March 11, The Hamilton Project hosted a forum at the National Press Club in Washington, DC focusing on how the U.S. economy can be strengthened by expanding labor market opportunities. United States Vice President Joe Biden delivered remarks. The forum included two panel discussions focused on three new Hamilton Project papers proposing ways to strengthen labor market opportunities for all workers. The first panel discussed a new proposal by Morris Kleiner of the University of Minnesota, suggesting four major reforms to occupational licensing policies. The second panel discussed two papers, by Adriana Kugler of Georgetown University and Michael Barr of the University of Michigan, that seek to strengthen unemployment insurance and increase the rates of minority entrepreneurship. 

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Expanding Employment Opportunities: U.S. Vice President Biden Remarks Video

March 11, 2015 • Video

On March 11, The Hamilton Project hosted a forum in Washington, DC and released three new papers focusing on how the U.S. economy can be strengthened by expanding labor market opportunities. Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin opened the forum. United States Vice President Joe Biden delivered remarks.

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Expanding Employment Opportunities: Panel 1 Video

March 11, 2015 • Video

“[The labor market] has been on a steady pace of recovery…but there’s still work to do,” said Hamilton Project director Melissa Kearney on March 11 during our forum, Expanding Employment Opportunities. Kearney moderated the panel discussion focused on a new paper by Morris Kleiner of the University of Minnesota proposing ways to promote smarter occupational licensing practices. Kearney and Kleiner were joined by Mike Monroe of the North America’s Building Trades Unions, Barbara Kelley of the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, and Justin Wolfers of The Peterson Institute for International Economics.

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Expanding Employment Opportunities: Panel 2 Video

March 11, 2015 • Video

On March 11, The Hamilton Project hosted a forum and released three new papers focusing on how the U.S. economy can be strengthened by expanding labor market opportunities. The second panel discussed papers by Adriana Kugler of Georgetown University and Michael Barr of the University of Michigan that seek to strengthen unemployment insurance and increase the rates of minority entrepreneurship, respectively. The authors were joined by Chanelle Hardy of the National Urban League Washington Bureau, Jared Bernstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Glenn Hutchins, Co-Founder of Silver Lake, moderated the discussion.

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