The last ten years certainly weren't pretty.
The last decade was "one of the weakest on record" for GDP and job growth, according to Rebecca Thiess, the author of a new report from the Economic Policy Institute. The the last decade, the real value of the minimum wage declined, and the gap between rich and poor grew, meaning there was no cushion when the recession hit, Thiess wrote.
The EPI report, "The Great Recession's Long Tail," was released on Tuesday, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that unemployment fell or stayed the same in two-thirds of American cities in December.
Using federal data, the EPI report found that while the economy will add jobs this year, it could be up to a decade before pre-recession employment levels return. The graphs, from a new Economic Policy Institute report, show in stark black-and-white the impact of the great recession: the highest job losses and lowest gains on record since 1948.
One chart (slide 1 below) shows indexed job loss during the recent recession, which ended in 2009, outstripping every other post-war downturn. "Three years past the start of the recession, the labor market is down a larger percentage of jobs (5.2%) than at any point in any other post-war recession," Thiess writes. "The economy continued to shed jobs for two years after the recession."
Another chart (slide 2) shows the number of unemployed people in a sector vastly outstripping the number of job openings. "Job creation has been overwhelmingly slow," writes Thiess. At the beginning of the recession, there were around two unemployed workers for each opening, now there are around six she adds.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment rate dropped in 207 of 372 of the largest metropolitan areas, and stayed the same in another 43 in December.
Washington, D.C., Dallas-Fort Worth, Boston, Phoenix and Minneapolis-St. Paul posted the biggest gains, AP reported.
Check out the EPI's disturbing charts below:
"Three years past the start of the recession, the labor market is down a larger percentage of jobs (5.2%) than at any point in any other post-war recession," writes Rebecca Thiess of the Economic Policy Institute.
"The recession has left us with a shortfall of 11 million jobs, which includes the number of jobs it would have taken to maintain a stable employment rate," according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, writes Rebecca Thiess of the EPI.
Although the recession ended in 2009, unemployment is steadily high according to the Congressional Budget Office. "The current downturn has seen a larger and more sustained increase in the unemployment rate," writes Rebecca Thiess of the EPI.
"While the unemployment rate tells some of the story, the labor market is in even worse shape than that rate reveals," writes Thiess of the EPI. The number of underemployed workers - people who can only find part-time work and people who have given up looking for jobs - has increased "in lock-step" with the unemployment rate, according to Bureau of Labour Statistics figures.
"The unemployment rate among blacks, for instance, was nearly 16%, and among Hispanics it was around 13%. With overall unemployment projected to be 8.7% in 2012, we can expect unemployment among blacks to remain over 15% and among Hispanics to be around 11%," writes Thiess.
"The length and severity of this recession has shattered records for long-term unemployment. In fact, this recession has seen an unprecedented rise in the number of workers who have been unemployed for six months or longer," writes Thiess. Long-term unemployment can have lasting effects on earnings and even the future earnings of the children of the long term unemployed.
"Job creation has been overwhelmingly slow," writes Thiess of the EPI. At the beginning of the recession, there were around two unemployed workers for each opening, now there are around six. "Unemployed workers dramatically outnumber job openings in every sector," she adds.