In the United States, labor markets are recovering, but the overall unemployment rate still exceeds the pre-pandemic rate.
In a speech to The Economic Club of New York on February 10, 2021, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell indicated that the US economy was “still a long way from a strong job market whose benefits are widely shared.” .
According to an analysis by the US Congress, during the 49-week period from mid-March 2020 to mid-February 2021, nearly 79 million Americans (nearly half of the 160 million civilian workers) had applied for unemployment insurance.
Based on this, the number of unemployed insured persons was 4.5 million in early February 2021, down from the peak of 25 million in mid-May.
Weekly claims have fallen from strong increases in April and May.
Week-over-week, new claims totaled 861,000 in the week ending February 13, 2021, increasing by 13,000 from the previous week’s total of 848,000, four times the average number of weekly claims out of around 200,000 registered before. of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In the week ending January 30, 2021, 18.3 million people claimed benefits across all programs, 1.3 million fewer than the total for the previous week.
The initial wave of Covid-19 infections led to a historic contraction in economic activity as a result of mandatory restrictions and voluntary changes in the behavior of households and businesses.
The level of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the United States fell 10% accumulated during the first half of 2020 and the measured unemployment rate soared to a maximum of 14.8% after World War II in April.
As mandatory restrictions were subsequently relaxed and households and businesses adjusted to the conditions of the pandemic, many sectors of the economy quickly recovered and unemployment receded.
However, according to the Fed, momentum slowed substantially in the late fall and early winter, as spending on many services contracted again amid the worsening pandemic.
In total, GDP is estimated to have declined 2.5% during the four quarters of last year and payroll employment in January was nearly 10 million jobs below pre-pandemic levels, while the unemployment rate remained high. at 6.3 percent and the labor force participation rate was very depressed.
Job losses have been more severe and unemployment remains particularly high among Hispanics, African Americans, and other minority groups, as well as among those in lower-paying jobs.