To put the recession’s labor- market impact into perspective, we compare the past two years to previous downturns, including the Great Depression. We also examine the data commonly used to assess labor market conditions. While unemployment rates and nonfarm payroll losses are widely reported, a firm grasp of what they measure is critical to understanding what they tell us about the current state of the labor market.The above excerpt and the following charts are from Economic Letter—Insights from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Vol. 5, No. 1, January 2010, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, "A Historical Look at the Labor Market During Recessions" by Enrique Martínez-García and Janet Koech.
Read the entire article here.A historical look shows that the labor market impact hasn’t been as severe in the current recession as it was in the Great Depression. While the latest episode has a lot in common with the post-World War II experience, it’s unusual in the length and depth of its labor market reach. It was the acceleration of employment losses after October 2008 that transformed an otherwise average recession into the worst episode since World War II.