Forget Four Years Ago: We’re Worse Off Than in 2011 - the Term Sheet: Fortune’s Deals Blog Term Sheet
There’s a lot of debate about whether or not we are better off than we were four years ago. But here’s one thing that we can say for sure after this month’s weak jobs report: Compared to a year ago, we are most certainly worse off.
Start with the headline number. In August, employers added 96,000 workers to their payrolls. That’s actually better than a year ago, if only slightly. But that’s only one month. What really matters is the trend, which is down.
Over the past six months, the economy has added an average of 97,000 jobs a month. At this time a year ago, the six-month average was 136,000, meaning the economy was growing 40% faster than it is today.
For the whole year, the economy has added an average of 139,000 jobs a month. That’s better, but still worse than a year ago when that figure was 143,000.
What’s more, those numbers come from the survey of employers. When the Labor Department asks individuals, the picture we get is a good deal worse. Go by that survey, which many say does a better job of capturing new businesses and the self-employed, and the economy’s gains plummet to an average of just 6,000 jobs a month since March, or nearly one-sixth fewer than we were adding in the same time a year ago.