Although the number of people who had jobs in the United States increased by 143,000 from November to December, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that still left 1,687,000 fewer Americans holding jobs than held jobs six years ago in December 2007—the month the last recession began.
In November, 144,443,000 Americans were employed, said BLS. In December, 144,586,000 held jobs—representing a one-month increase of 143,000.
However, the 144,586,000 Americans who had jobs in December 2013 was still 1,687,000 less than the 146,273,000 who held jobs six years ago in December 2007.
In fact, the 144,586,000 Americans who had jobs this December was still 1,384,000 less than the 145,970,000 who held jobs seven years ago in December 2006.
As far back as August 2006, more Americans had jobs (144,625,000) than this December.
According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the last recession began in December 2007 and ended in June 2009. By June 2009, the number Americans employed had dropped to 140,009,000 Americans who held jobs. That was 6,369,000 below the peak employment of 146,378,000 the nation hit in January 2008.
In the wake of the last recession, employment bottomed out at 138,013,000 in December 2009—8,365,000 below the peak of January 2008. Since December 2009, employment has grown by 6,573,000—or an average of approximately 136,938 per month.
Since the recession hit in December 2007, the labor force participation rate has declined from 66.0 percent to 62.8 percent, matching a 35-year low.
The labor force participation rate is the percentage of Americans 16 or older who are not in the military or in an institution and who either have a job or actively sought one in the last four weeks.
The labor force participation rate hit 62.8 percent in October, according to BLS. It then hit 63.0 in November, but dropped back down to 62.8 percent in December. Prior to October and December, the labor force participation rate had not been as low as 62.8 percent since March 1978.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 5.0 percent in December 2007. It was 6.7 percent in December 2013. The unemployment rate is the percentage of people who were participating in the labor force but had not found a job.