Wall Street Journal surveyed economists on jobs outlook.

The U.S. economy needs to add 145,000 jobs per month just to hold the unemployment rate steady and absorb the flow of new workers into the labor force, according to estimates in the latest Wall Street Journal survey of economists.

Wall Street Journal staffer Josh Zumbrun looks at the highlights of the findings that mash up a complex formula of variables to calculate what it takes to keep employment trends in positive-land. Here's a take on how Zumbrun describes the intricate math:

First, one must account for population growth. New jobs must be created to account for the growing population of people who graduate high school or college each year and enter the labor force. Second, one must account for the retirements of the Baby Boomers — the generation of people born in the years after World War II who are now reaching retirement age. That’s one reason some economists have low estimates for the pace of new jobs each month — essentially a large number of retirements will free up jobs for other workers.

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