The unemployment rate has increased to 9 percent, but employers added 244,000 jobs in April. This job growth was higher than expected, but barely enough to tread water in today’s economy. If these numbers were in month two or three of the recovery, I would be excited. In fact, normally, we should be ecstatic. But we aren’t anywhere close to normal in this economy. And that’s the scary part. We are nearly two years into the so-called recovery from the Great Recession (which “officially” ended in June 2009 according to the National Bureau of Economic Research). And, as I pointed out in National Review Online earlier, this Great Recession really isn’t so Great. It’s similar in scope to what we experienced in the early 1980s. So, the positive employment numbers now showing up 22 months after the recovery started is pretty. . . well . . . scary. Moreover, the economy’s inconsistency since the trough is hardly encouraging. Indeed, it appears we are two years into a “lost decade.”
— Samuel R. Staley is Robert W. Galvin fellow and director of urban & land use policy at the Reason Foundation.