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The numbers are in for U.S. jobs and unemployment following the month of February, and long story short, things are looking good! Unemployment rates and the number of jobs are both better than they’ve been since early in the pandemic, and things seem to still be trending upwards. Read on below for more information on the U.S. jobs report.
In the month of February, 678,000 jobs were added to the economy. This was the best month for job growth since July of last year, as it seems that things are starting to return to normal while the threat of Omicron fades.
The current unemployment rate is down to 3.8%, the lowest it has been since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The average hourly wage is $31.58 and seems to be stable in that position, which could be an indicator that inflation may begin to stabilize as well.
Much better recovery than expected
Over 90% of the jobs lost during the COVID-19 pandemic have now been filled again, which is far better than analysts and economists had predicted. The projection by analysts was that 400,000 jobs would be restored in February, so the 678,000 that were restored shattered their expectations in a big way.
It can be difficult to accurately predict job growth in the wake of a major world event like a pandemic, so it’s no surprise that these numbers haven’t been completely accurate.
Not quite at pre-pandemic levels
While the job growth in the last few months has been a fantastic sign of growth, the nation isn’t yet back down to pre-pandemic unemployment levels. Currently, there are 2.1 million fewer jobs than there were in February 2020.
In January 2020, right before the pandemic started, the U.S. unemployment rate was 3.5%. The current rate is approaching these levels, and while higher than 3.5%, it’s still lower than the average unemployment rate for the decade before the pandemic.
Back to normal in four months at this rate
Economists currently predict that, given current growth levels, the unemployment rate will be back to pre-pandemic levels within the next four months. COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed or completely lifted in most areas, so at this point, virtually everyone should be able to get back to work.
Some industries such as tourism have still taken a hit and haven’t quite recovered to pre-pandemic levels, and there may end up being long-term changes in some industries in the wake of the pandemic.
Financial troubles aren’t over yet
Though unemployment is down and job growth is up, the nation’s financial troubles aren’t quite over. Inflation has been a major concern for many American families over the last few months, and prices of everything from gas to groceries seem to be skyrocketing.
The inflation rate in 2021 ended up at 7.5%, the highest it’s been in decades, and the trend has continued through the first few months of 2022. As stated earlier, however, this job growth could indicate that inflation will stop soon.