The headlines are euphoric: “Big Job Gains and Rising Pay in Latest U.S. Data” (NYT 12/6/2014) and indeed the 321,000 payroll jobs increase, 9-cent increase in average hourly wages and 0.1 hour increase in weekly hours last month exceeded expectations and is reminiscent of the 300-400 thousand monthly job growth and rising wages of the late 90’s tech boom bubble economy glory days. These November payroll (Establishment Survey) numbers are good, the kind of monthly job growth that could eventually dig us out of the Lesser Depression hole if they consistently continue for another couple of years (eyeballing from Figure 2 below). This would get us back to the Emp/Pop ratio of 2007 assuming that major Labor Force population age cohorts (16-24, 25-54, 55 and over) were the same share of the overall population in November 2007 when the Lesser Depression started as they were in November 2014 (see Figure 2 explanation). We would still be far below post-war Emp/Pop ratios without taking demographic changes into account (Figure 1 below) but, with increased productivity and more redistribution of income among the cohorts (more wishful thinking), “sort of” where we were in Nov. 2007. Of course expansions out of every past post-war recession have led to a recovery of demographically adjusted employment losses within at most 4 years (see Figure 2) and this would require 7 years of continuous expansion with the most robust job growth in the last couple of years, but at least we would get back to where we were (on a demographically adjusted basis) 9 years after the start of the Lesser Depression.