Try the second half of next year - that's the expectation of most economists surveyed by the WSJ. On average, they see the actual recession ending in September, but growth is likely to be so anemic that it won't feel like a recovery. That means employers are not about to be hiring in any substantial way.
"The end of the decline isn't the beginning of the recovery," said David Resler of Nomura Securities Inc. "It's like a boxing match. Even if you win the fight, it's not going to feel as good when you get out of the ring as when you went in." Indeed, economists' prospects for the labor market remain bleak. Just 12% of the economists expect the unemployment rate to fall some time this year.
Even when the economy stops shedding jobs, the unemployment rate is likely to remain elevated for some time. "The unemployment rate isn't going to recover because you have to get back everything you lost and then some," said Joseph Lavorgna of Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. He estimates that the economy would have to grow an average of about 4% for six years to get back to the sub-5% unemployment rates seen in 2007.