By Isaac Cohen*
To judge by the last employment report, issued by the Labor Department after the election, the US economy is recovering from the steep fall caused by the pandemic shock in March and April. In October, 638,000 new jobs were created, a bit less than 672,000 in September, while the unemployment rate decreased to 6.9 percent, from 7.9 percent.
However, there are headwinds indicating that by the inauguration of President elect Joe Biden, in January, the slowdown in the economic recovery will continue. In fact, job creation has declined since June, while half of the 22 million workers who lost their jobs in March and April remain unemployed.
Experts have warned that, with the number of infections already increasing, cold weather and the holidays may require shutdowns and lead to job losses in several sectors, such as entertainment, hospitality and retail. These sectors employ many low wage workers, who are the most severely hit by the recession caused by the pandemic.
Therefore, the expectation persists that Congress and the White House can still, this year, agree on approving another relief package, to strengthen public health measures and alleviate some of the income losses among the most vulnerable. As recognized by the Federal Reserve, “the path of the economy will depend significantly on the course of the virus.” https://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/pressreleases/monetary20201105a.htm
*International analyst and consultant, former Director ECLAC Washington. Commentator on economic and financial issues for CNN en Español TV and radio, TELEMUNDO, UNIVISION and other media.