Unemployment Levels Are Taking 3x As Long To Recover

The chart below, from NPR, shows what happened to unemployment in previous recessions: each line starts at the time of highest employment level before a recession, and shows what happened in the next 60 months (five years). In all recessions before 1980, employment levels fully recovered in about two years. Since then, however:

  • The 1980 recession recovered all jobs after 3.5 years
  • The 1990 recession, after 2.75 years
  • The 2001 recession, 4 years
  • The 2007 recession: it’s been more than 5 years and we’re still not there yet
Speed of job recovery in recessions 1948-2012

NPR’s original chart is interactive — click on the image to go to it.

As we’ve seen before, the GDP (along with productivity measures) has pretty much continued to climb this entire time, unabated by the high unemployment levels. (The Dow recently hit record highs, having recovered all losses following the crashes of 2007.) What this means is that businesses are doing just fine with less employees, due in part to outsourcing, and in part to automation.

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From NPR

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