In One More Year, America Will Have Finally Recovered All Of The Jobs It Lost Since 2008

Business Insider

After the release of every monthly jobs report, we publish what we call "the scariest jobs chart ever," which highlights how long and painful the current labor market recovery has been following the 2008 recession versus recoveries following other historical recessions.

One year from now, however, that scariest jobs chart ever may not look so scary anymore.

The reason: at the current pace of payroll creation, the total number of employees on private sector and government payrolls in the United States will reach the peak levels achieved in 2008.

"By a long stretch the ongoing recovery for employment is the longest on record for any recovery," says Miller Tabak chief economic strategist Andrew Wilkinson. "The three-month pace of job creation of 175,000 through July if sustained would eliminate [by July 2014] the remaining 2.018 million jobs lost since payrolls peaked more than five years ago."

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Payrolls to breakeven

Miller Tabak/Andrew Wilkinson

That's not to say that America will have recovered the same jobs it lost.

The next chart shows that while total payrolls may only be a year away from breakeven, the recovery in full-time employment still seems a way off.

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total versus full time payrolls

Business Insider/Matthew Boesler, data from Bloomberg

The difference between the two series above is the surge in part-time employment since 2008, as the chart below illustrates.

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part time vs full time employment

Business Insider/Matthew Boesler, data from Bloomberg

So, what's driving the surge in part-time employment?

The blue line in the chart below shows the share of part-time employees who cite economic reasons for their part-time status (i.e., they can't find a full-time position).

The red line shows the share of part-time employees who cite non-economic reasons (i.e., going back to work for fun, etc.) for their part-time status.

After the recession, the share of those employed part-time for economic reasons rose, peaking at 33.8% in April 2010.

Since then, that figure has slowly trended lower to 30.1% as of today's report, but still remains elevated well above January 2008's 19.9% level.

Nonetheless, at present, 69.9% of those employed part-time in the United States are in those positions for non-economic reasons, according to the BLS survey.

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part time employees economic vs non economic reasons

Business Insider/Matthew Boesler, data from Bloomberg



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