On April 3, 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 701,000 jobs were lost in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic (figure was later revised to -881,000). This brought an abrupt end to the longest stretch of job creation in United States history. Beginning in October of 2010 during the Obama presidency, the U.S. recorded an unprecedented 113 consecutive months of job growth. Though the economy had exhibited some signs of weakness over the last year and barely made it over the threshold a year earlier when only 1,000 jobs were created in February of 2019, the pandemic was the ultimate spoiler.
Throughout the country’s history long stretches of job creation have come and gone, but nothing comes close to the record set over the last decade. The second longest streak was 48 months during the Reagan and George H.W. Bush presidencies from 1986 to 1990. This is where Bill Clinton may want to chime in and have a word. During his presidency, the country would have had a stretch of 86 consecutive months if it wasn’t for a blizzard shutting down the Federal Government in D.C. for a week in January of 1996.
During the first week of every month the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the nation’s Job Growth figures. When analyzing this indicator, it’s important to note that the figure is related only to new “payroll” jobs and self-employed businesses are not factored into the equation. Due to its rather punctual reporting, job growth statistics are also viewed as preliminary measurements upon first report and are revised at a later date as more data comes in. In other words, the initial report should be treated as a best estimate. In order for the economy to remain stable economists generally look for job growth to be above 100,000 jobs per month. However, for a more prosperous economy at least 200,000 jobs created over a given month is the ideal scenario. The table and graph below break-down the monthly average and total of the United States’ Job Growth numbers.