Today, the Labor Department reported that nonfarm payrolls (jobs) increased by a significant 243,000 in January. Today’s chart provides some perspective on the US job market. Note how the number of jobs steadily increased from 1961 to 2001 (top chart). ).
How does the employment story loo versus a long term trend. The simple way is to fit a linear trend to the data (black line). Job growth is still far from this long term trend, giving plenty of ammunition to the NGDP targeters to ask for more from the FED.
However, if we filter the data using a statistical technique, H-P filter, we see some improvement in the labor market at the very end.
I think that both views are a bit exaggerated. The truth is somewhere in the middle with clear signs that the labor market is improving but it remains below the long term trend (not as far as in the linear trend story though.