E US Economy And Job Market Experienced A Sugar High

“Why did America bungle Covid-19 so badly?... What strikes me, when looking at America’s extraordinary pandemic failure, is how top-down it all was….The main driving force behind reopening, as far as I can tell, was the administration’s desire to have big job gains leading into November, so that it could do what it knew how to do — boast about economic success…The irony is that Trump’s willingness to trade deaths for jobs and political gain has backfired.” (Paul Krugman, NYT, July 7, 2020)

In formal terms, the US economy entered the current recession in February as the coronavirus struck the economy and ended a near eleven-year period of consecutive economic growth. 

As virtually everyone understands, the combination of the US economic lockdown and the global pandemic essentially pushed the American economy into a phase of suspended animation. 

As a result, the US economy shed more than 20 million jobs in March and April.  

Prospects brightened a bit in May with some jobs growth and then in June when US payrolls increased by 4.8 million, the second month of strong gains after April’s huge 20 million loss.

June’s large employment increase was primarily the result of rehiring of some of the earlier suspended workers, as the country began some loosening up on the lockdowns in May.

The unemployment rate slipped down to 11.1% In June, a bit lower than the peak 14.7% rate recorded in April. But as of the middle of June there were still some 17.8 million unemployed workers.

However, since mid-June, when the job when the job surveys were taken, the economy seemed to lose some of its momentum and, of course, the number of Covid-19 cases also began to escalate.

The unpleasant reality is that despite the strong June jobs recovery and the somewhat rosier than expected stock market, the Covid-19 recession is far from over. 

Even with last month’s hefty job recovery, it still leaves the American economy with 15 million fewer jobs than in February. 

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William K. 2 months ago Member's comment

Our USA government has been mishandling the economy since well before this virus plague ever began. Very low interest rates on any savings may have been intended to encourage spending but instead promoted debt accumulations.

And the HUGE failure once the virus was acknowledged was in not closing the borders IMMEDIATELY. Only a fool would let plague carriers back in with no restrictions, and that is exactly what was done.

So functionally we have leadership that has no understanding of how to do anything other than that which is intended to benefit the top 1%. The problem is not just a few failures, the problem is a failed set of priorities.

David J. Tanner 2 months ago Member's comment

It's easy to say, but did ANY country completely seal it's borders? I'm no fan of Trump and he handled COVID-19 probably worse than any other countries, but it's not an easy thing to close the borders. What about all the Americans who would have been stranded overseas?

William K. 2 months ago Member's comment

I never stated that others got it right. Closing borders is something that can be done in just a few hours, every country could have done it immediately. But it did not happen that way. So now thousands die.

Texan Hunter 2 months ago Member's comment

#Trump didn't want to close the borders since he knew that would devastate the economy. He couldn't do that, especially without knowing how bad COVID would be. He really wanted to believe it wouldn't his the US hard, or if it did we could contain it until it went away on its own. Sadly he was very wrong.

Angry Old Lady 2 months ago Member's comment

Trump would have known known of that would happen if he listened to his own medical experts. But the truth is he values the economy over lives as that is his best chance to get reelected.