Employment still has room to improve, St. Louis Fed reports

Employment has improved since the end of the recession, but it has not recovered fully, according to a new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

The report suggests it may take another three to four years for employment to return to a “normal” level, and it points to recession and recovery in Canada for evidence.

The national unemployment rate in the U.S. peaked at about 10 percent in October 2009, and it now sits at 5.5 percent. Though this is close to normal, St. Louis Fed Vice President David Andolfatto said that many factors may distort the true state of America’s labor situation. To show this, Andolfatto and Michael Varley, a research analyst for the St. Louis Fed, compared employment rates for males ages 25 to 54 during two recent recessions.

During a recession between 1990 and 1994, Canada’s employment rate in this age group dropped about 8 percent, compared to a drop of about 3 percent in the U.S.

During the most recent recent recession, though, that situation was reversed. The U.S. experienced about an 8 percent drop in employment for males ages 25 to 54. Meanwhile, Canada experienced a 5 percent drop.

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