According to the Department of Labor, our economy added 217,000 jobs in May, while the unemployment rate held steady at 6.3 percent.
For eight years, the Bush administration didn’t pay attention to Wall Street, while Republicans repeatedly killed common-sense regulations. It took only two years for them to wipe out 8.7 million jobs but more than four years to gain them all back. We’ve finally recovered all the jobs lost during Bush’s financial crisis. This milestone indicates the jobs market has turned a corner, because there are more jobs in our country than ever before. The last time we were near this point was just before massive layoffs swept throughout the country, causing the unemployment rate to reach 10 percent.
It’ll take millions more jobs to achieve the healthy labor market America had before the Great Recession. Given population growth over the last four years, Heidi Shierholtz, an economist with the Economic Policy Institute, has calculated that 7 million more jobs will be needed to achieve a healthy economy.
This has been the longest jobs recovery since the Department of Labor started tracking jobs data in 1939. A survey of economists predicts it’ll take two to three more years to return to full employment, which they’ve defined as an unemployment rate around 5.5 percent.
Actually, 51 straight months of private-sector job growth is no small victory for the Obama administration, especially since we’ve witnessed how congressional Republicans have refused to participate in any kind of public or private partnership to improve our economy.
Congressional Republicans have repeatedly blocked jobs bills that sought to create jobs. Had the American Jobs Act of 2013 passed, it would have created an additional 1.9 million jobs. Fortunately, we’re strong enough as a nation to move forward despite Republican obstructionism.