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1 big thing: The recovery's fringe benefits

It took 10 years, but a key metric for America's economic health is back at pre-recession levels.

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Data: OECD via Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The big picture: Nearly 9 million jobs vanished in 2008-09, pushing the unemployment rate to 10% and spurring millions to abandon looking for work, the AP notes.

  • "For five years after the Great Recession ended in 2009, many Americans gave up on their job hunts. ... Because they weren’t actively seeking work, they weren’t even counted as unemployed."

Why it matters: "The rebound has confounded many experts’ projections."

  • "The Federal Reserve has consistently underestimated the likelihood of more people finding jobs."
  • "In 2013, its policymakers estimated that 'full employment' — the lowest point to which unemployment was thought capable of reaching without sparking higher inflation — would arrive when the unemployment rate was between 5.2 percent and 5.8 percent."
  • "And in 2014, the Congressional Budget Office forecast that the proportion of people ages 16 and up either working or looking for work ... would be just 62.5 percent by the end of 2017 and would decline thereafter. Instead, the figure reached 63.2 percent in January, a five-year high."

Between the lines: This is forcing employers to be more flexible about who they hire, which especially benefits people with gaps on their resumes.

  • "Many companies are relaxing their education or experience requirements, according to economists and staffing agencies."
  • "They are considering more applicants with disabilities."
  • "Businesses are expanding their training programs."
  • "Some ... are also looking with a more open mind at people with criminal backgrounds."

P.S. The European Central Bank is launching measures to help revitalize the eurozone's slumping economy, Axios' Courtenay Brown reports.

Go deeper: Sidelined workers could keep job growth from stalling

Bonus: Pic du jour
Photo: J. Scott Applewhite/AP

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi talking to reporters today.

  • The House will vote on a resolution today condemning anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim discrimination and bigotry against minorities "as hateful expressions of intolerance that are contrary to the values and aspirations of the United States."
2. What you missed
  1. Michael Cohen is suing the Trump Organization for "failure to meet its indemnification obligations" by not paying his legal fees. Read the lawsuit.
  2. For the second straight year, the Bering Sea is virtually ice free at a time of year when it should be gaining ice. Chart.
  3. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk's security clearance is reportedly under review by the Pentagon following his public marijuana consumption. Go deeper.
  4. Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown won't run for president. His statement.
  5. IBM CEO Ginni Rometty has penned a sharply worded letter calling on Congress to pass the Equality Act, which would protect LGBTQ Americans. Details.
3. 1 nerdy thing

Photo: Lloyd Bishop/NBC/NBCU/Getty Images

Turns out that rising Democratic star Stacey Abrams is a major Star Trek fan, the N.Y. Times reports based on an unpublished interview from last summer.

  • "She has seen every iteration of 'Star Trek' and can recite with picayune detail the obscure plot points from incidents buried deep in the canon."
  • "She admires Captain Picard but reveres Admiral Janeway. One of her favorite things is 'Shattered,' the 157th episode of 'Voyager,' in which the ship goes through a temporal rift that tantalizingly splits it into different timelines."
  • "If the world can be reductively divided into two types of people represented in the original ur-text 'Star Trek' of TV and film — the always-logical Mr. Spock and the charming and sometimes hotheaded Captain Kirk — Ms. Abrams, with her precision and relish for the tax code, veers toward the Spockian."

Engage.