If you look at some numbers the labor market appears to be recovering. Analysts expect a good jobs report this Friday and unemployment claims have fallen. But these numbers don't tell the full story. The figure below is the employment to population ratio of American men. The shaded areas indicate a recession.
After each recession many leave the labor force and don't come back, even men who are years away from retirement age. This suggests a long-running structural change that recessions escalate. During the height of the pandemic many people lost their jobs. But more than a year into the recovery, the share of men woking remains more than two percentage points below its pre-pandemic level. If the future is like the past, employment may never recover.
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