US economy almost returns to pre-covid levels as 678,000 jobs added

Unemployment is almost back to the levels before the coronavirus pandemic.

Eric Garcia
Friday 04 March 2022 15:56 GMT
(Getty Images)

The United States added 678,000 jobs in the month of February while the unemployment rate inched down to 3.8 per cent in a boon for President Joe Biden.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics said in its report that the unemployment rate is almost back down to the level it was before the coronavirus pandemic in February 2020, when unemployment was at 3.5 per cent. In addition, the bureau revised nonfarm payroll for December from 510,000 jobs added to 588,000 and numbers for January were revised up from 467,000 to 481,000.

But the recovery was not evenly distributed. Adult men and Hispanics saw their unemployment rate decline in February but the jobless rate for adult women, teenagers, Black people, white people as a whole and Asian-Americans was virtually unchanged.

Additionally, average hourly earnings jumped 5.1 per cent from February 2021 as many employers have raised wages to encouraged people to re-enter the workforce. At the same time, labor force participation, which is the actual number of people who are either employed or looking for work, remained unchanged at 62.3 per cent.

The numbers are welcome news for the Biden administration as it seeks to push a reopening of the US economy and moving into the next phase of the cornavirus pandemic. During his State of the Union Address on Tuesday, Mr Biden stressed the economic growth that occurred under his administration.

“In fact—our economy created over 6.5 million new jobs just last year, more jobs created in one year than ever before in the history of America,” he said and said the rapid pace at which the economy grew was “the first step in bringing fundamental change to an economy that hasn’t worked for the working people of this nation for too long.”

The leisure and hospitality sectors added 179,000 jobs, including 124,000 jobs in food service and drinking establishments, but employment in the sector is still 9 per cent higher than it was in February 2020. Health care jobs rose by 64,000 jobs in February, with 20,000 jobs in home health, 15,000 in physicians’ offices and 12,000 in other health practicioners’ offices. Construction added 60,000 jobs and transportation and warehousing added 48,000 jobs.

But it also comes as many Americans worry about rising inflation, particularly when they go to the grocery store or refuel their cars at the gas pump. The Biden administration ruled out banning oil imports from Russia amid the crisis in Ukraine, saying it would lead to increased oil prices.

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