Very slow progress on jobs

Change in employment from previous business cycle peak, percent

Source: New York Times analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics; chart by Amanda Cox.

Catherine Rampell at the NYT’s Economix blog provides the latest update (above) of what might be the single most useful graph out there for understanding the current economic crisis. For each of the last six recessions, the chart shows where employment stood –relative to the pre-recession peak– for every month until the subsequent recovery restored the pre-recession employment rate. Relative to the hole we’re in, the welcome job growth in December was only a drop in the bucket.

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