Job Creation and a Healthy Economy

Testimony before the US Senate Committee on Finance hearing "Jobs and a Healthy Economy"

January 22, 2015

From a macroeconomic perspective, the labor market recovery is robust. In 2014, nonfarm payrolls grew by an average of 246,000 jobs per month, the fastest rate not only through this recovery but also the fastest since 1999.

It finally appears that the recovery has developed reliable momentum. Aggregate GDP statistics also bear this out, although they suggest that rates of economic growth through the recovery are better described as moderate—typically in the 2 to 2 1/2 percent range. The juxtaposition of moderate GDP growth and robust employment growth reflects the fact that productivity growth has been a bit slow through the recovery.

Even so, robust job growth has led the unemployment rate to fall from nearly 10 percent through most of 2010, to 5.6 percent at the end of 2014. This means that over the past four years, the unemployment rate has fallen by about one percentage point per year, a rate far faster than most economists had envisioned and faster than has historically been typical for an economic recovery.