Some industries still have a long way to go to recover from the pandemic
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U.S. job openings in February increased more than expected, according to the Labor Department. Also, data from last week shows the economy added over 900,000 jobs in March. But a lot of people, especially in certain industries, aren’t feeling the recovery yet.
For all of the good jobs news recently, there are still nearly 10 million people who are out of work, and more than 4 million of them have been unemployed for six months or longer.
“So we still have a very long way to go until we get a full recovery,” said Elise Gould with the Economic Policy Institute. She said the industries that have the furthest to go are the ones you’d expect: “leisure and hospitality, accommodations, food services, restaurants” and the public sector, especially in education.
Michael Strain at the American Enterprise Institute said he expects those public sector jobs to start coming back soon because state and local governments got a lot of money in the latest COVID relief package.
“And also because schools are reopening, and hopefully they’ll all be open in the fall, and they’ll need to hire in order to make that happen,” Strain said.
Strain said he also expects hiring to pick up across the board in the next few months, as all that government aid makes its way into the economy and more people get vaccinated.
COVID-19 Economy FAQs
What do I need to know about tax season this year?
Glad you asked! We have a whole separate FAQ section on that. Some quick hits: The deadline has been extended from April 15 to May 17 for individuals. Also, millions of people received unemployment benefits in 2020 — up to $10,200 of which will now be tax-free for those with an adjusted gross income of less than $150,000. And, for those who filed before the American Rescue Plan passed, simply put, you do not need to file an amended return at the moment. Find answers to the rest of your questions here.
How long will it be until the economy is back to normal?
It feels like things are getting better, more and more people getting vaccinated, more businesses opening, but we’re not entirely out of the woods. To illustrate: two recent pieces of news from the Centers for Disease Control. Item 1: The CDC is extending its tenant eviction moratorium to June 30. Item 2: The cruise industry didn’t get what it wanted — restrictions on sailing from U.S. ports will stay in place until November. Very different issues with different stakes, but both point to the fact that the CDC thinks we still have a ways to go before the pandemic is over, according to Dr. Philip Landrigan, who used to work at the CDC and now teaches at Boston College.
How are those COVID relief payments affecting consumers?
Payments started going out within days of President Joe Biden signing the American Rescue Plan, and that’s been a big shot in the arm for consumers, said John Leer at Morning Consult, which polls Americans every day. “Consumer confidence is really on a tear. They are growing more confident at a faster rate than they have following the prior two stimulus packages.” Leer said this time around the checks are bigger and they’re getting out faster. Now, rising confidence is likely to spark more consumer spending. But Lisa Rowan at Forbes Advisor said it’s not clear how much or how fast.
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