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