US economy is one good sign of hope

The following Letter to the Editor appeared in the Dec 16th, 2021 edition of The Daily Sun.

In the first three quarters of 2021 real GDP increased at a 7.8% annual rate and the disposable income of Americans grew 3% (adjusted for current inflation). Since Jan. 20 the S&P 500 Index jumped 21.7%. January to Nov. 5, 675,000 unemployed Americans found new jobs and the jobless rate fell from 6.3% to 4.2% (a decrease of one-third).

Following the Great Recession 2007-2009 that level of improvement in unemployment took six years. In fact, on Wednesday Brookings predicted that based on current projections, the U.S. economy is expected to reach its pre-COVID trend in the 4th quarter of 2021, with most other countries doing so in 2022. A most unusual recovery: How the U.S. rebound from COVID differs from rest of G7 (brookings.edu)

The downside – prices have risen at a 6% annual rate over the past six months, and those newly hired workers are (as new hires) being paid less than the average for their industries. Per Gallup, 45% of households find that inflation – which has especially affected food and gasoline – is straining their finances. Hopefully, this burden will be eased by the facts that oil prices have fallen more than 20% over the past three weeks and that supply chain bottlenecks and labor shortages are being aggressively addressed.

Meanwhile, the U.S. is approaching 60% full vaccination rate, enabling many families to look forward to sharing the holidays more safely this season.

All-in-all, we can hope that things will get even better soon. Happy holidays to everyone.

Sheila Jaeger, Punta Gorda

 Image Credits: Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

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