The speed of labor market adjustment

Ezra Klein reports:

Notice that adding new jobs at a rate of 200,000 a month would take us 150 months — or 12.5 years — to get back to normalcy. So far, only April has seen more than 200,000 in non-census jobs growth — and even then, just barely.

This in my view is a puzzle for all theories of labor market adjustment.  Why does it take so long?  This isn't one of those West European scenarios where, due to benefits, being unemployed is permanently somewhat attractive alternative for some subset of the work force.  Nor is the United States a country where employers cannot fire recalcitrant workers.

If monetary velocity fell by eleven percent, is it the view of the Keynesians that the required nominal wage adjustment takes so many years?  Hysteresis means that unemployment gets "baked in" to some extent, but if anything you might expect that to speed up shorter-term adjustment in the work force, to avoid such a fate.

Does the required "recalculation" take so long?  I find myself coming back to the view that many previously employed workers simply have a current marginal product pretty close to zero.

Addendum: Arnold Kling comments.


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