Signs of Economic Recovery Spark Cautious Optimism
Joe provides strategic, economic, and statistical modeling and consulting for private businesses’ short and long-term horizons. Previously, Joseph Petry taught finance and economics at the graduate and undergraduate level for 18 years.
In April 2020, the United States labor market lost more than 20 million jobs, marking one of the most devastating and sudden downturns in recent history. According to consensus forecasts, a year later, widespread vaccines have sped economic recovery, but the US is still down approximately 7 million jobs.
At the same time, the first week of May 2021 saw applications for unemployment benefits drop to 498,000, the first time since before the pandemic that claims have fallen below 500,000. According to economists, some industries are now struggling to find workers, which could cause wages to increase. The Federal Reserve closely monitors labor market changes, which aims to achieve “maximum employment” while keeping inflation rates steady. While the current target for inflation is 2 percent, the Federal Reserve will potentially look for a slightly higher rate in the medium term.