The core of President Obama’s re-election argument is this: The economy is on the right track; things are getting better — stay the course.

Thus, White House economist Alan Krueger said last Friday of the October job report’s showing of 7.9 percent unemployment: “While more work remains to be done, today’s employment report provides further evidence that the US economy is continuing to heal . . . It is critical that we continue the policies that are building an economy that works for the middle class as we dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began in December 2007.”

If only that were true. But 41 months into a supposed economic recovery, the wounds inflicted by the Great Recession continue to fester.

For instance, job growth has averaged 157,000 per month thus far in 2012, about the same as 2011’s average monthly gain of 153,000. Those wouldn’t be bad numbers if the labor market were already at full health. But it isn’t — not even close.

This “recovery” has yet to bring us a period of strong job growth to make up for what was lost in the recession — to close the “Jobs Gap.”

As the Brookings Institution figures things, the US labor force will grow by around 100,000 jobs a month over the next decade or so. So the economy needs to add many more jobs than that each month to begin to return to pre-Great Recession employment levels.

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