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Jobs Gap Could Close In 2020: Report

By Ideas Lab Staff December 18, 2012

The Hamilton Project analyzes the nation's jobs gap each month.

If job creation reaches the nation’s best pre-recession level, it could take until August 2020 – or eight more years – until the “jobs gap” is closed, according to data analyzed by The Hamilton Project.

As of November, the U.S. faces a “jobs gap” of 11.1 million jobs. Each month The Hamilton Project analyzes the jobs gap, meaning “the number of jobs that the U.S. economy needs to create in order to return to pre-recession employment levels while absorbing the people who enter the labor force each month.”

Credit: The Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution

According to the report, the jobs gap would be closed in eight years if the economy adds 208,000 jobs per month – the average monthly rate for the top year of job creation in the 2000s.

In November, The Hamilton Project reported that September’s data also showed a jobs gap of 11.1 million jobs but that the job loss wasn’t evenly distributed across the nation. California, for example, had a jobs gap of more than 1.7 million jobs, while Virginia’s jobs gap was 126,000 jobs. An interactive chart shows the difference in employment-to-population ratio in each state from the start of the recession and today. The jobs gap presented for each state is the number of jobs each state would have to add to bring its employment-to-population ratio back to its pre-recession level.