U.S. Peak Employment

March 02, 2011

The unemployment situation in the U.S. has been a major concern for economists when considering an economic recovery from the “Great Recession”. This week’s chart examines the peak employment level (total number of people working in the U.S. labor force), along with the time taken to return to that peak level after a recession. The chart looks at peak employment in percentage terms, so 100% indicates the U.S. is at a peak employment level, while anything below 100% indicates the employment level is lower than the previous peak employment.

The U.S. hit a peak employment level in November 2007, and has yet to make much progress towards reaching that peak again. Since 1948, this is the longest time period the peak employment level has remained under its previous high after a recession. Growth in the U.S. labor force (total number of people working or seeking work) has leveled off over the last few years while more than 1.7 million civilians have dropped out of the labor force since mid-2008. The nearly 14 million unemployed people that remain in the labor force average nearly 37 weeks of being unemployed.

Several economists, including those that authored a working paper at the San Francisco Fed, have noted that the natural unemployment rate, long considered to be 5%, may have increased over the last several years to stand as high as 6.9% today. After examining variables such as labor market skill mismatches, extended unemployment benefits and growth in productivity, these studies have concluded that the increase in the natural rate of unemployment is most likely temporary, though may last for several years.

The opinions expressed herein are those of Marquette Associates, Inc. (“Marquette”), and are subject to change without notice. This material is not financial advice or an offer to purchase or sell any product. Marquette reserves the right to modify its current investment strategies and techniques based on changing market dynamics or client needs.

Related Content

05.14.2024

The “Fix” Is In!

The strength of the U.S. economy over the last several quarters has surprised many investors, as consensus expectations from the…

05.09.2024

The Emergence of Argentinian Equities

Argentina has faced myriad economic headwinds in recent time, including hyperinflation, currency-related difficulties, and a series of defaults on its…

05.02.2024

Is Bitcoin Fairly Valued?

Despite mixed performance to start 2024, bitcoin finished the first quarter up roughly 68%. Buoyed by a broad weakening of…

04.24.2024

Japan: This Year’s Vacation Recommendation

Foreign investment isn’t the only thing streaming into Japan. In 2023, the number of travelers to the country surpassed long-term…

04.16.2024

The Banks’ Real Estate Problem

First quarter earnings season is getting started, with the largest banks reporting first. In the wake of last year’s regional…

04.11.2024

First to Cut: The Fed or the ECB?

Based on implied probabilities derived from options markets, investors are currently forecasting an 82% chance that the European Central Bank…

More articles

Subscribe to Research Email Alerts

Research Email Alert Subscription

Research alerts keep you updated on our latest research publications. Simply enter your contact information, choose the research alerts you would like to receive and click Subscribe. Alerts will be sent as research is published.

We respect your privacy. We will never share or sell your information.

Thank You

We appreciate your interest in Marquette Associates.

If you have questions or need further information, please contact us directly and we will respond to your inquiry within 24 hours.

Contact Us >