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Today, the Labor Department reported that nonfarm payrolls (jobs) increased by 80,000 in June. Today's chart provides some perspective in regards to the US job market. Note how the number of jobs steadily increased from 1961 to 2001 (top chart). During the last economic recovery (i.e. the end of 2001 to the end of 2007), job growth was unable to get back up to its long-term trend (first time since 1961). More recently, the number of nonfarm payrolls has been working its way higher but at a pace that is not fast enough to close the gap on its 1961 to 2001 trend. It is interesting to note that the current number of US jobs recently surpassed its 2001 peak. However, if this month's pace of 80,000 new jobs were to continue for each and every month going forward, the 2008 peak would not be reached until the third quarter of 2017.

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