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What will it take to reach 5 percent unemployment?

Digging deep into the employment crisis:

8,400,000

That's about how many jobs the Great Recession has stripped from the U.S. economy since December 2007, helping drive the unemployment rate from a manageable 4.9 percent up close to 10 percent.

Replacing those lost jobs isn't the only challenge.

The country's labor pool is expected to grow as the overall population ticks upward. Previously discouraged job seekers not counted in the current unemployment rate will also return to the hunt as the economy improves. The new arrivals, and the returnees, will need jobs, too.

How many jobs will it take?

Just to keep national unemployment steady at 9.7 percent, the country would have to add a conservatively estimated 85,000 jobs a month. Right now, we're still losing jobs — 36,000 in February alone. And no one wants to stay at 9.7 percent unemployment for the long term.

So what would it take to get to 5 percent again?

292,000 new jobs every month until 2015

So, how likely is that?

It would take an extraordinary run of job creation. The boom-boom '90s only created an average of 150,000 jobs a month, a torrent compared to the paltry 50,000 per month average from 1999-2008.

What will it take to reach 5 percent unemployment? 03/26/10 [Last modified: Monday, March 29, 2010 3:18pm]
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