The litany of job market scars from the Great Recession is familiar: modest job growth that has not yet pushed payroll employment above its pre-recession peak nor reduced unemployment to close to what it would be in a healthy economy.
The most distressing element of last week's jobs report was not the small number of jobs added in December, but the decrease in the participation rate of workers from 63.6 percent at the beginning of 2013 to 62.8 percent at the end of it (a 35 year low).
The U.S. economy created a measly 74,000 new jobs in December, and a smaller percentage of working-age Americans are now employed than at any time in the last three decades (before women surged into the workforce).
Okay, there were too many negatives in that title. Let me say it more positively: We positively must extend UI benefits, lest 1.3 million UI recipients lose needed UI benefits in a job market that is improving, but still slack.
The cuts which have already been forced on us have cost the economy nearly 1,000,000 jobs, according to the most conservative estimate, while robbing our economy of tens of billions in growth. Do you really think we want more of the same?
We're four years into a recovery that began in the second half of 2009, yet unemployment is still highly elevated, and job growth is once again decelerating. There should be no question that fiscal drag and general political dysfunction continues to hurt working families.