The most recent Chronicle of Higher Education has an article about the excellent job market in history, entitled "Job Market in History Heats Up". The same is true of the philosophy job market; there are many, many more jobs than there were in the 1990s. For example, when I went on the job market, in 1994-5, I remember there were less than 25 jobs in all of metaphysics and epistemology broadly construed, and only two Leiter top-twenty departments were advertising, Cornell and UCLA. UCLA ended up deciding that year that no one was appointable in metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, and related areas, and so did not make an offer.
In contrast, this year alone there are junior positions in M&E broadly construed at NYU, Princeton, Michigan, MIT, UCLA, Berkeley, Cornell, Harvard, USC, and many other leading departments (and more than one of these schools have multiple positions). In addition, there are a healthy raft of positions at departments along the full spectrum. Whereas people in M&E in the mid 1990s would apply for 20-30 total jobs, job candidates now in M&E regularly apply to more than 100 jobs. I was incredibly fortunate to get a great job, and the consequences were extraordinary in several ways. First, because I was offered what seemed to me to be an essentially unique opportunity, I could afford to invest my self-confidence completely in my work. In contrast, this sacrifice would have been more difficult if I had been at a much less prestigious institution. I would have probably pursued other projects outside philosophy to protect myself against the more salient risks of failure. Furthermore, I had graduate students to help conduct my research. Finally, I had that all important 2-2 teaching load.
My peers who were essentially indistinguishable from me in terms of philosophical promise in graduate school (e.g. David Hunter at Buffalo State College, Lenny Clapp at Illinois Wesleyan) have had great difficulty moving up from their difficult teaching positions, despite impressive records of publication (records that are especially extraordinary considering their high teaching loads). It appears that in times of academic plenty departments of all kinds clearly prefer to hire students right out of graduate school over people who would have gotten outstanding jobs, had they not finished their PhDs during lean years. Furthermore, my impression (though this is definitely anecdotal) is that in years in which there are fewer jobs, more departments decide not to hire at all. None of this behavior seems rational; after all, it's not like there are worse philosophers graduating in years with fewer jobs. Perhaps the air of desperation during lean years removes the mantle of confident genius than departments prefer their candidates to wear during interviews.