The jobs numbers are certainly not enough to change the basic story of a slow economic recovery, and it will take many years for the economy to get back to full employment.
However, the jobs numbers are one of the more hopeful signs for the economy on balance. An average of 146,000 jobs have been created per month over the past year, or closer to 157,000 with the government’s anticipated benchmark revisions accounted for.
Those aren’t great numbers by any means, and would translate to an annualized growth rate of 1.4 percent. But over the past 25 years, payroll jobs have grown at an annualized rate of 1.1 percent, or the equivalent of about 125,000 jobs added per month given today’s population. By this measure, it’s been a fairly average economic year, although certainly not enough to make up for the productivity that was lost from the economy in 2008 and 2009.