CAP en Español
Small CAP Banner

Employment by the Numbers

The Economy Is Recovering, but Americans Are Still Reeling

SOURCE: AP/Charles Rex Arbogast

A woman holds onto an employment guide tabloid while attending a job fair in Chicago.

    PRINT:
  • print icon
  • SHARE:
  • Facebook icon
  • Twitter icon
  • Share on Google+
  • Email icon

The economy may be standing on its own two feet again, but many Americans still aren’t. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act pulled us out of the Great Recession, but now it’s going to take policies that ensure strong job growth to stabilize this momentum.

The government will need to step in with a jobs bill that provides direct spending to offset the drop in private consumption and help customers and businesses ramp up their spending. When demand for goods and services begins to grow, businesses will hire employees and become more confident in investing. The numbers below give a look at how the labor landscape looks today and how continued legislative efforts on job creation would help American workers.

Many Americans are still reeling from the Great Recession

8.4 million: The number of jobs lost since the start of the recession in December 2007.

35,000: Average monthly job losses from November 2009 to January 2010, but this is down from an average monthly job loss rate of 726,000 for the same months before the stimulus was passed in February 2009.

Six: The number of unemployed workers vying for every single job opening.

Unemployment rates

Some Americans have been hit harder than others

9.7 percent: The overall unemployment rate.

15.6 percent: The unemployment rate for those without at least a high school diploma in February 2010.

15.8 percent: The African-American unemployment rate in February 2010.

25.0 percent: The youth unemployment rate in February 2010.

The recovery is beginning to take hold …

1.8 million: The number of jobs saved or created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

5.9 percent: The inflation-adjusted rate at which the economy grew during the last quarter, much of which is attributed to the Recovery Act.

259,400: The number of temporary jobs added since July 2009 with an average of 49,133 workers added per month over the past three months, an indication of increasing payroll employment in future months.

…but we need to do more

2 percent: The predicted amount of economic growth for 2010 without additional policy efforts

42: The number of states that had or still have shortfalls for fiscal year 2010, totaling $190 billion, even after they cut services.

Six: number of unemployed workers vying for every single job opening

Direct government action can create jobs and open up new industries

42,000: The number of new jobs that the federal government could create by investing $625 million in supplemental FY 2010 funds for youth corps programs.

60,000 to 100,000: The number of jobs the federal government can create or preserved in the very near term by moving forward construction projects that have been fully reviewed by state housing agencies with a 20-year record of Low-Income Housing Tax Credits.

2.5 million: The number of jobs a comprehensive clean energy investment agenda has the potential to create over the next 10 years while putting the United States on a path toward greater climate stability, energy security, and economic prosperity.

1.3 million: The number of jobs that would be created through an outlay of $42.9 billion in tax credits if the average tax credit is $2,000.

1 million: The number of jobs that would be created through a direct employment program partnered with nonprofit organizations who would work to improve conditions in economically distressed areas through childcare or cleaning up foreclosed homes.

900,000: The number of jobs that could be lost if we do not provide adequate aid to states, which are looking at a total budget gap of $190 billion for FY 2011.

See also:

To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

Print: Katie Peters (economy, education, poverty, Half in Ten Education Fund)
202.741.6285 or kpeters@americanprogress.org

Print: Anne Shoup (foreign policy and national security, energy, LGBT issues, health care, gun-violence prevention)
202.481.7146 or ashoup@americanprogress.org

Print: Crystal Patterson (immigration)
202.478.6350 or cpatterson@americanprogress.org

Print: Madeline Meth (women's issues, Legal Progress, higher education)
202.741.6277 or mmeth@americanprogress.org

Spanish-language and ethnic media: Tanya Arditi
202.741.6258 or tarditi@americanprogress.org

TV: Lindsay Hamilton
202.483.2675 or lhamilton@americanprogress.org

Radio: Chelsea Kiene
202.478.5328 or ckiene@americanprogress.org