We’re now six and a half years into the official recovery from the Great Recession and, according to the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the headline unemployment rate has fallen to 5 percent.
However, just to keep things in perspective, the number of long-term unemployed (workers who have been without a job for 27 weeks or more) was essentially unchanged at 2.1 million in October and has shown little change since June. These individuals accounted for 26.8 percent of the unemployed in October.
And, as we can see from the chart above, workers’ wages, while increasing, have still recovered much more slowly than during the previous three business cycles.
As I wrote yesterday,
it is clear both that the initial downturn was much more protracted than mainstream economists (including central bankers, like Ben Bernanke) had the courage to admit and that the persistent negative effects of that crisis continue to depress actual rates of growth below the earlier trend.