President Obama mentioned “jobs” only three times in his recent inaugural address, “workers” one time, and “unemployment” zippo. The January jobs report provides a sober reminder that the US labor market, while recovering, remains extraordinarily weak. The official unemployment rate ticked up to 7.9% as 157,000 net new jobs were created, according to the Labor Department.
To provide some context, recall that back in January 2009 Team Obama economists Jared Bernstein and Christina Romer predicted the unemployment rate by 2013 would be closing in on 5%. (Of course, Obama’s economists also thought we’d be in a mini-boom of 4%-plus economic growth. That hasn’t happened either.) Oh, and at the January pace of job creation, we won’t return to pre-Great Recession employment levels until after 2025, according to the Hamilton Project’s Jobs Gap calculator.