Another Disappointing Employment Report

I don’t quite understand how this story can seem to be so sanguine about the employment situation; 192,000 jobs created is simply not enough to keep up with population growth, let alone being enough to turn around an employment market that has been weak since the onset of the recession in 2007. We should be creating approximately 250,000 jobs per month if we want to get back to full employment any time soon, and the longer we fail to do so, the longer we will remain stuck in the doldrums, economically.

Equally concerning is news that labor participation has diminished. Be sure to read the entire thing, and note the final paragraph, which I believe encapsulates the policy challenge posed by a diminished labor force:

John Maynard Keynes once famously declared his fear that, at some point, much of humankind would have to cope with the problems of abundant leisure and little work. Perhaps. But we can no longer sit back and watch as growing numbers of Americans—not just the wealthy or the elderly—exit the labor force. This trend spells trouble for the nation’s economic and fiscal future. It is a bigger and less understood problem than we think, and it requires bolder policy action than we have contemplated so far.

Quite plainly, we are in uncharted policy waters, and we have not yet found a way to get to more pleasant shores. If you’re not worried about that, then I am worried about you.

And no, I can’t resist a political aside: I was assured during the 2012 election season that if I just stuck with the Obama administration a little longer, the employment market and the economy as a whole would turn around for the better. When precisely is this supposed to happen?