The June employment situation is largely consistent with recent trends. It is not remarkable, but those recent trends are better than what we had become used to in the years following the deep losses of the 2007-2009 recession. Employment over the last year has risen 2.5 million, while employment growth for the last three months has averaged about 270,000 jobs, as the economy recovered from the harshest months of the winter. The report today suggests that the 2014 first quarter GDP decline of 2.9% was not a sign of major weakening, but rather the result of the bad weather early in the year.
The unemployment rate in June was 6.1% down from 7.5% a year ago. That said, the stickiness of the employment population ratio at 59.0% remains a harsh reminder that the “new normal” leaves millions of workers on the edge. The employment population ratio is up only 0.5% since 2009 and still down 4% since 2007.
The economy continues to tread water, without making significant progress. The federal government refuses to provide the stimulus required by the situation. Federal employment continues to fall, while state and local employment are recovering slowly. Overall government employment remains below its 2007 level.