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Five Years Of A Brutal Job Market, In Two Graphs

It's now just over five years since the recession started, back in December 2007. The recovery officially began in 2009, but it's been grindingly slow. As of December, there were 4 million fewer U.S. jobs than there were when the recession started.

Those losses come disproportionately from two sectors: manufacturing and construction.

A few sectors — notably health care — have been steadily adding jobs. Lots of others lost jobs during the recession, then gained them back during the recovery. (Note: When we've posted versions of these data in the past, people have asked why high-tech isn't included. It is included, but it's folded into the category labelled "professional services," which also includes accountants, lawyers and other professionals.)

Unemployment is still far higher than it was before the recession, as is a broader measure of unemployment (the wonks call it U-6), which also includes people who are working part time but want to be working full time and people who want a job but gave up looking.

Note: We've updated this post to reflect the latest jobs numbers.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Lam Thuy Vo
Jess Jiang
Jess Jiang is the producer for NPR's international podcast, Rough Translation. Previously, Jess was a producer for Planet Money. In 2014, she won an Emmy for the team's T-shirt project. She followed the start of the t-shirt's journey, from cotton farms in Mississippi to factories in Indonesia. But her biggest prize has been getting to drive a forklift, back hoe, and a 35-ton digger for a story. Jess got her start in public radio at Studio 360—though, if you search hard enough, you can uncover a podcast she made back in college.
Jacob Goldstein is an NPR correspondent and co-host of the Planet Money podcast. He is the author of the book Money: The True Story of a Made-Up Thing.
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