The possibility of a sub-par expansion poses a dilemma for the central bank’s policy-making Federal Open Market Committee when it meets tomorrow. While the economy isn’t so weak that it’s clearly in need of more monetary stimulus, it may not be strong enough to keep unemployment from increasing.In other words... we are in a "growth recession":
The late Solomon Fabricant, a professor of economics at New York University, coined the term growth recession to describe an economy that isn’t expanding fast enough to keep unemployment from rising. The minutes of the Fed’s last meeting, on August 10, suggested the central-bank staff didn’t see that happening next year.The chart below shows this "growth recession". Specifically, it shows how many years of employment growth have been given up, defined as the number of years since the level of employment first hit the current level (i.e. August household employment was 139.25 million people; the first time we saw employment above that level was July 2004 or a bit more than 6 years ago).
Thus, even though we have recently been adding jobs, we are not "catching up" and have actually been losing ground the last few months.