By Colin Barr
April 1, 2011

A solid jobs report is nothing to scoff at nowadays, but here goes.

The economy added 216,000 jobs last month, and the unemployment rate fell to 8.8%. Even the leading bearish economic forecaster, David Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff, concedes that the numbers were “firm.”

But it wouldn’t be a rainy Friday in New York without a dose of economic gloom. Take a look at the above chart, inspired by Rosenberg’s comment that U.S. payrolls remain below their level of January 2000 — and 7 million south of their peak levels reached in the late stages of the housing bubble.

Slicing it up another way, over the past decade the United States has added 30 million residents, without making any accommodation for how they might earn their way in the world. No wonder the Fed thinks we have bigger worries than inflation.

Also on Fortune.com:

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