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America's Lost Decade... here 10 years early, as far as the job market goes. BusinessWeek economist Michael Mandel has a depressing graph today showing that there are just 1.1 percent more jobs (about 1.1 million) in the private sector than there were a decade ago, by far the worst performance since 1949:

Over the same period, public payrolls grew by 2.4 million jobs, or about 10 percent. (Though one thing to keep in mind when looking at the headline number here is that the population of prime-age workers (25-54) grew by only 4.5% over the same period, so there may be a partial supply explanation as well.)

From Mandel:

Remember that the private sector includes health care, social assistance, and education, all areas which receive a lot of government support...Without a decade of growing government support from rising health and education spending and soaring budget deficits, the labor market would have been flat on its back.


It's a good thing those are three sectors with the fewest problems to solve these days.


I took a closer look at other times when population growth over a 10-year period has been at the current level and I take back what I said above. This last 1-year span has been a stark outlier. 

--Zubin Jelveh