The economy hit a milestone of sorts last month, as payroll employment finally topped its pre-recession level. But there are two important caveats.
First, as we’ve pointed out, the growth in the working-age population since the recession started means that many more people today want to work but don’t have a job. Second, the number of government jobs remains well below pre-recession levels. State and local employment, for example, remains more than 450,000 jobs below the December 2007 level (see graph).