Jobless Claims At Lowest Levels Since 1973 (Graphs)

| by Robert Fowler
Michigan Workers Rallying For Better Job OpportunitiesMichigan Workers Rallying For Better Job Opportunities

Several new statistics regarding job growth indicate that the American job market have slowly but steadily recovered from the Great Recession, while being transformed by generational factors.

On March 24, the U.S. Labor Department announced the weekly claims for unemployment benefits was 265,000. Economists believe the fewer claims, the stronger the job growth and overall economy, the Washington Examiner reports.

The claims for unemployment benefits has not exceeded 300,000 for the past 55 weeks, the longest record since 1973.

The BLS monthly job report showed that the 242,000 new jobs were filled in the overall economy throughout February. The national unemployment rate was projected at 4.9 percent, NPR reports.

These numbers are a huge improvement over the years following the housing market implosion of 2008. During the Great Recession, the national unemployment rate peaked at 10 percent in the second half of 2009.

The current unemployment rate is almost back to pre-recession levels. However, wages have remained stagnant and many of those working have complained of underemployment. The average workweek is now 34.4 hours.

Critics of the Obama-era economy had previously pointed to the unemployment rate as evidence that President Barack Obama did not know how to stimulate growth. Now that unemployment has shrunk, critics now say the labor force participation rate is more important, according to New Republic.

The LFPR is taking the number of people who are employed and, most importantly, still actively seeking work and comparing that number to the overall population of able-bodied Americans. When Obama took office, it was 65.7 percent. In February 2016, it is 62.9 percent.

Some factors that impact LFPR that have little to do with government fiscal policy. Over the last decade, the baby boomers have slowly started to retire, the largest generation of living Americans beginning to recede from the workforce.

Also, technology has evolved the skills expected for good employment. Many older generations of American workers have watched their skill-sets being phased out by the demands of the market. 

The U.S. job market is still suffering problems, which is reflected in the angry national mood of the 2016 presidential election. However, the data indicates things have largely recovered from the 2008 crash.

Sources: New RepublicNPR, Washington Examiner / Photo credit: America's Power/Wikimedia Commons

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