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I'm curious by what measure the jobs recovery from this recession is considered slower than the recovery from the recession of 2001. Since this recession was declared over in June of 2009, we have added 3,087,000 private sector jobs in 34 months. After the recession was declared over in November of 2001 we added 564,000 private sector jobs in the following 34 months. One difference between the two recessions is government hiring. A decade ago we added 309,000 government jobs during the recovery. This time we have cut 601,000 government jobs. But even after adjusting for changes in government employment, we are still 1.6 million jobs ahead this time. As for the reason for slow reemployment, Business Week surveys say it is uncertainty over demand that limits hiring. Uncertainty over regulations and tax policy may partially explain the shift to the use of temporary and contract workers. But these workers mitigate risks such as future health care costs under the Affordable Care Act. On the other hand, over the last three years we have cut off extended unemployment benefits temporarily three times, creating uncertainty in the spending patterns of the recipients. We have also played chicken with the debt ceiling last summer, severely reducing hiring around that incident. We have also played chicken with the annual budget authorizations, creating uncertainty about the amount and timing of spending on government projects. All of these actions have probably done more to slow hiring than concerns about future health care costs under the Affordable Care Act.
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May 8, 2012