First Monthly Jobs Report of the Biden Administration
Today, the first monthly jobs report for the first full month in which President Biden was in office will be released by the Department of Labor. Economists expect that employers will have stepped up their hiring for the month of February. That is because the number of cases of COVID-19 has sharply dropped over the past six weeks. Consumers are spending a lot of their stimulus money and the weather is getting better.
Jobs Report Expectations
Economists have predicted that the job growth for February will be an additional 175,000 jobs. This would be a big improvement over the previous three months, during which only 29,000 jobs were added. The slow growth of jobs in November, December and January was attributed to the sharp increases of COVID-19 cases that followed holiday gatherings in American homes.
Hiring Is Not Meeting Everyone's Needs
The United States still has 10 million fewer jobs than it did before the COVID-19 pandemic. Monthly hiring by employers would have to accelerate by a lot more than 175,000 jobs per month to bring back all of the people who are out of work. In particular, the entertainment, hotel, hospitality and restaurant industries would need to bring back a lot of people. In fact, the unemployment rate has probably increased a bit from 6.3% in January to 6.4% in February because people who took a break from their job search during the holiday season are back in the market for a job.
Economists Have High Expectations
Most labor analysts are growing increasingly optimistic that employers will hire more people in the coming months. The economy is growing stronger among expectations that consumers will spend the additional $1,400 in economic stimulus funds the federal government will start to issue after the Senate passes the House's COVID-19 relief bill. Small businesses and other employers are also slated to get more federal relief, so that should help them bring workers back on the job. Consumers may have money burning holes in their collective pockets because they haven't been able to go to bars, restaurants, theaters, concerts or trips. Economists think that people will start spending their money and going out soon because of the sharp drop in COVID-19 cases and the increase in vaccination distribution.
Economic Relief Package Likely to Pass
It seems likely that the Senate will approve President Biden's $1.9 trillion economic stimulus package, despite the promise of one senator who said that he would make his clerks read all 600 pages of it in a filibuster attempt. The rescue package provides $1,400 checks to adults who earn $80,000 or less per year. It also provides an additional $400 per week in unemployment compensation and more relief for small businesses.
Economic Growth Will Fuel Hiring
Economists estimate the the growth of the economy will be about 7% for 2021. Most of that will be due to the infusion of federal dollars. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the country will add 6.2 million jobs in 2021, but that still leaves 2.5 to 2.9 million American workers without a job compared to pre-pandemic employment levels.
Economic Rescue Plan Is Working Already
Upon news of the economic rescue plan being debated in Congress, the economy is already beginning to improve. A few people are worried about a higher rate of inflation. FEderal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell tried to lessen those worries on Thursday, March 4, but he was not able to convince a lot of economists. The stock market took a dive after his efforts failed. The Federal Reserve also announced that it is not in a rush to increase the short-term interest rate for loans to banks. Powell did not provide any inkling that he would push back against the surge in interest on 10-year Treasury notes.
Federal Reserve Optimism Is a Good Sign for Jobs
Powell's optimism about the economy is also good news for jobs. He said that the increased rate of administration of COVID-19 vaccines should lead to more decreases in infection numbers. Some other economic indicators also suggest that better times are in store for 2021. Retail sales increased by 5.3% in the past month. During the previous three months, retail sales declined, which worried economists because the declines took place during the holiday season. Sales of durable goods increased by 3.9% last month. Home sales have increased by more than 24% in the past year.