There’s Light at the End of the Tunnel for Job Market

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That’s how few months it may be before the U.S. has regained all 22 million jobs it lost in the pandemic, if the current pace of growth continues.

The economy picked up 431,000 jobs in March, a hiring pace that would bring the number of people working back up to its February 2020 level—152.5 million—in July. Recent reports about the labor market all tell the same story: lots of hiring, very few layoffs, and plenty of openings for those looking for work.

Restoring the remaining 1.6 million jobs would close the books on what economists say has been a remarkably fast recovery. In fact, the rate of hiring has been twice as fast as during the previous period of economic expansion (which lasted from 2009 to 2020), economists at Wells Fargo Securities said in a commentary. 

By contrast, it took more than six years to regain the jobs lost in the Great Recession that began in 2007. The massive amount of relief delivered by the government this time around made the difference, especially for private-sector employment, according to Elise Gould, senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute, a progressive think tank.

“Private-sector employment is now only 0.7% away from pre-pandemic levels. This figure says it all,” Gould said on Twitter. “Unlike in the aftermath of the Great Recession, policymakers provided relief at the scale of the problem and did what was needed to spur a strong recovery this time around."

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