It's encouraging that the number of jobs in America is back in pre-crisis territory. But it's upsetting just how many jobs the downturn robbed us of. As the economy keeps adding jobs, it also keeps adding people, as Alyssa Davis, researcher at the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute, tweeted on Friday. According to EPI calculations, there's subsequently a gap of 6.4 million jobs in the economy.
That gap is the number of "missing workers" as calculated by EPI — those "missing workers" are the people who would be seeking out jobs if the economy were stronger. This question of how many people have left the labor force due to economic factors versus demographic factors is a big debate among labor economists right now, but it's clear that there is a sizable hangover from the recession, and it means job growth hasn't fallen far behind the growth in the number of potential workers.