After a report showing a gain of 150,000 jobs last month, Mark Thoma says that the glass is half empty.

it could have been worse, but in past recoveries we’ve had job growth of hundreds of thousands, far more that this.

But, as I learned by reproducing Ed Leamer’s analysis, the economy almost never makes a rapid transition from low employment growth to high employment growth. Before we can get to the point where employment gains are 350,000 a month or more, we have to transition from bad numbers to mediocre numbers. At least with last month’s figure, we made it to mediocre. After a couple more months of that, it is more plausible that we will see large gains.

So far, I have been surprised at how long it has taken for job growth to pick up. Still, I think that within a year we will see regular monthly employment increases of 400,000 or more. I have no formal forecasting model or clever insights, but I just don’t think that the economy can stay down indefinitely.