AEI’s Jim Pethokoukis expertly explains the trouble behind our economy’s “new normal”:

Graph: Long emergency for American workers continues

(Image: AEI.org)

There are still 1.1 million fewer employed Americans today than right before the recession started, despite a potential labor force that’s 14 million larger. Also, there are 3.6 million fewer full-time workers. The employment rate, the share of Americans with a job, is 58.6% — exactly where it was in November 2009. If the labor force participation rate were where it was a year ago, the jobless rate would be 7.9%, not 7% (and 11.3% if the LFPR were at prerecession levels). More than 4 million Americans remain out of work for 27 weeks or longer. Overall, according to the Hamilton Project Jobs Gap calculator, it will take another five years to return to 2007 employment levels even at the improved job creation pace of the past four months.