March 9, 2012
The stock market has recovered its losses since hitting bottom three years ago today. But despite gains in employment during that same stretch, America is still down six million jobs, data shows.
The economy added 227,000 jobs in February, more than the 204,000 economists expected, the Labor Department reported this morning. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 8.3% from last month. But while the economy has added more than 200,000 jobs for three straight months, the damage to employment done by the Great Recession is still far from repaired.
Between December 2007, when the recession officially started, and February 2010, when the Labor Department’s reports show employment hit bottom, the economy lost more than eight million jobs. Between then and now, we’ve added back more than two million jobs. With that big of a gap yet to fill, it’s extremely unlikely the unemployment rate will fall to a more “normal,” pre-crisis level of 6% by the end of this year, says Robert Johnson, the associate director of economic analysis at Morningstar. A rate below 8% — last seen in January 2009 — is possible by the end of the year, however, Johnson says.