ICYMI: “THE ECONOMY IS GOOD, ACTUALLY”
Policymakers “Should Not Be Ashamed of Their Success” in Job Creation, Rising Wages, and Extraordinary Recovery
The Atlantic published an opinion piece by author Zachary Carter today, highlighting that Americans are living through the best labor market in half a century, pay for lower-wage workers is up, and our economic recovery has far outpaced that of the Great Recession.
While costs are rising for families due to the pandemic, we very much agree. The American Rescue Plan and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law have created the best labor market in 50 years and led to an explosion of job creation. President Biden and his allies should take a huge victory lap.
We are living through the best labor market in 50 years. The U.S. economy created 467,000 jobs in January, more than triple the 125,000 that economists had anticipated. According to the most recent data, the economy created 700,000 more jobs at the end of last year than previously believed. Workers are leaving their jobs for greener pastures at record levels, organized labor is enjoying a resurgence of worker power unseen in a generation, and pay for low-wage workers is up even after adjusting for inflation.
Compared with the federal government’s response to the 2008 financial crisis, the recovery from the COVID-19 crash has been an extraordinary success. It took more than a decade after the onset of the previous recession for the unemployment rate to fall back to 4 percent, the level where it stands today.
Most of the jobs created after the 2008 crisis paid poverty wages, and the country never recovered all of the manufacturing jobs it lost. Today, manufacturing jobs have nearly returned to their pre-pandemic levels amid a burst of onshoring activity across different industries.
The Great Recession was a generational cataclysm for the American middle class. The COVID-19 recession has not been, because policy makers have prioritized the benefits of a high-demand economy over the risk of moderately rising prices. They should not be ashamed of their success.
Read the full article here.