According to the Hamilton Jobs Gap Calculator, at the current rate of job creation, we will be back to the level of employment we had before the crash in June 2017.
It seems to me that, on the present course, we'll never be "back to trend." Or, rather, the slope of the trend line will continue to decline:
source: Quantitative Easing Is Ending. Here’s What It Did, in Charts.
That is one lousy recovery.
A real recovery is a V-shaped curve. Growth spurts up above the trend line, averaging out the dip, and the trend line remains the same. Back to trend.
Here's what Wikipedia has to say on the subject of L-shaped recoveries:
"An L-shaped recession occurs when an economy has a severe recession and does not return to trend line growth for many years, if ever. The steep drop, followed by a flat line makes the shape of an L. This is the most severe of the different shapes of recession. Alternative terms for long periods of underperformance include "depression" and lost decade; compare also "malaise"."
An L-shaped recovery is a bad thing, but the Federal Reserve has signed off on it, so that's what we've got. Where is Milton Friedman when we need him?
While I'm on the subject of desperately seeking Milton Friedman, is it not possible for journalists and pundits and economists and the like to recall the principles of supply and demand when discussing inequality?
As far as I can tell, the single best medicine for income inequality (if you're concerned about income inequality) is a tight labor market. (The other competitor for single best medicine is closing the trade deficit, also unmentionable in polite punditry, it seems.) Ed has finished a draft of his European history textbook, and has been writing about decades when income inequality plunged because countries were experiencing labor shortages.
When lots of employers are bidding on janitors, the price of a janitor goes up.
I'm in favor of labor shortages myself, but we're not going to see another one in my lifetime, not with the Federal Reserve in charge.
The Federal Reserve believes in a little thing called Nairu. Nobody knows whether the Nairu exists or, if it does, what its value is, but the Fed believes in it, so there is nothing to be done.
I ask myself, not infrequently, whether things would be different if the country at large knew that the Federal Reserve fights inflation by raising unemployment.