Recession and Recovery, 2001 and 2007: Employment
In a blog post today, Kevin Drum compares the recoveries from the 2001 and 2007 recessions, and concludes "The Obama recovery isn't just a little bit better than the Bush recovery. It's miles better." Part of the reason for the "miles better conclusion" is that, after the 2001 recession, government employment grew quite strongly (+4.0% in the 5 and a half years following the trough in November 2001. But after the 2007 recession, government employment has declined--down by 2.8% since the trough of the recession (June 2009).
So let me begin by telling you where I wind up on this: Any way one wishes to look at it, the recoveries from the two most recent recessions has been anemic, at least in terms of employment.
Drum looks at the rate of change of employment as a percentage of the labor force. I thought it made more sense to look simply at the rate of growth of employment, and so here's that chart:
(Click to enlarge.)
The blue line shows the descent into and recovery from the 2001 recession; the burgundy line is the 2007-2009 recession. The horizontal axis measures months before and after the trough (the trough is at zero on the axis.
Two things do stand out.
(1) The 2007-2009 recession was more severe, in terms of employment loss.
(2) The average annual rate of growth has been fractionally faster in the recovery from the 2007-2009 recession--1.25% per year, compared with 0.9% per year following the 2001 trough.
So, yes, this recovery has been somewhat better. I wouldn't call it "miles" better. And, compared with earlier recessions (e.g., the 1982-1983 recession. when employment grew at a 3.1% per year average annual rate in the 5.5 years following the trough).
Any way one wishes to look at it, the recoveries from the two most recent recessions has been anemic, at least in terms of employment.
(All data from www.bls.gov.)