Right now, there are 12.3 million unemployed Americans. When the economy’s running at full blast, there are typically only a few million people out of work — in transition or switching between jobs, say. What’s more, the population keeps growing, currently adding about 88,000 new people to the labor force each month. So, at our current pace, it will take about nine years to close the “jobs gap.”
With faster jobs growth, the country could get back to full employment even quicker. The Hamilton Project calculates that we could close the jobs gap entirely by the 2016 election if the economy added 321,000 jobs per month. The problem? That was the average rate for the best single year of job creation during the 1990s dot-com boom. Hard to envision now.