U.S. Job Growth Rate Lags Historical Pace

by: Prieur du Plessis

The U.S. Labor Department reported on Friday that nonfarm payrolls (jobs) increased by 200,000 in December. For some perspective, Chart of the Day provided a graph that illustrates the percent increase in the number of jobs for every decade since the 1940s (the data goes back to 1939).

The chart below shows that up until this millennium, the number of jobs at the end of a decade has always been at least 20% greater than 10 years prior. The report said:

During the last decade (2000s), not only was that 20% plus growth not achieved, the decade actually ended with less jobs than when it began. This negative job growth is particularly noteworthy due to the fact that the U.S. population had increased by 10% during the same time frame.

Two years into the current decade (see gray column), the chart illustrates that job growth is positive. If job growth during the current decade were to increase at the same pace as what occurred during the first two years, the decade would end with a 10% gain in jobs (see gray dot). This is certainly better than the decade just passed. However, it is well off the 20% plus pace of decades past.

Click to enlarge:

Click to enlarge

Source: Chart of the Day, January 7, 2012.