Last Updated Jan 12, 2011 9:44 PM EST

When the last several employment reports have shown modest gains in employment, many of us have noted that even so, the number of jobs created is barely enough to keep up with population growth. This graph of the employment-population ratio over the last 5 years shows this clearly:

I'll feel more confident about the economy when this ratio begins growing robustly instead of bouncing along the bottom of the valley like it's doing now.
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    Mark Thoma is a macroeconomist and time-series econometrician at the University of Oregon. His research focuses on how monetary policy affects the economy, and he has also worked on political business cycle models. Mark is currently a fellow at The Century Foundation.