WASHINGTON, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) -- The ongoing U.S. jobs crisis could last for the next nine years if employment growth maintains the status quo, a U.S. economist said Friday.
Friday's U.S. jobless rate from the Bureau of Labor Statistics remained unchanged from its revised level the previous month, adding 155,000 jobs, roughly equal to the average 153,000 jobs added monthly over the first 11 months of the year.
"At December's growth rate the labor market will not fill in (the) gap until the end of 2021," said Heidi Shierholz, economist at the Economic Policy Institute.
Indeed, the economy is 9 million jobs in the hole -- those jobs lost since the recession hit in 2007 plus the jobs that should have been added -- but were not -- to keep up with the growth of the work force, she said.
A jobs crisis ending in 2021 would mark 14 years of high unemployment, and the December employment situation marks five years since the start of the major downturn in 2007 and more than three years since the official start of the so-called recovery in 2009.
Average hourly wages rose by 7 cents in December and have climbed at a 2.1-percent rate over the last year, roughly in line with inflation. That means real wages have been flat over the last year amid persistent high unemployment that has pushed down wage growth, she said.
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