A jobless recovery or jobless growth is an economic phenomenon in which a macroeconomy experiences growth while maintaining or decreasing its level of employment. The term was coined by the economist Nick Perna in the early 1990s.
An economic recovery, following a recession, where the economy as a whole improves, but the unemployment rate remains high or continues to increase over a prolonged period of time. This effect may be a result of cautious businesses that add hours to existing employees in order to increase production capacity rather than hiring new workers.
An example of a jobless recovery occurred in the early 1990s. While the American recession from the late 1980s technically ended in the first quarter of 1991, the unemployment rate did not actually stabilize until the middle of 1992.