Friday’s big economic headline was that the unemployment rate fell to 7.5%, the lowest since 2008. And payroll employment rose by 165,000, somewhat better than expected. The news was good enough to push the Dow Jones average over 15,000 for the first time, and it obviously could have been worse, but what an age of diminished expectations we are in. Almost four years since the 2007-2009 recession officially ended, and we’re at 7.5% unemployment. The comprehensive “U-6” unemployment rate, which includes all discouraged job-seekers and part-timers who want to work full time, actually edged up slightly to 13.9%. And the employment-to-population ratio was essentially unchanged at 58.5%. All not good.
As for the why and what do we do now, Jared Bernstein nails it a lot better than I could.