The US economy added 49,000 jobs in January, while the unemployment rate fell to 6.3 percent.
The United States labour market recovery is moving in the right direction, but there is still a long way to go before it recaptures its pre-pandemic strength.
The US economy added 49,000 jobs in January, while the unemployment rate edged down to 6.3 percent, the Department of Labor said on Friday.
The uptick in non-farm payrolls is a welcome development after the economy shed a revised 227,000 jobs in December.
But January’s modest clawback underscores how much ground the economy needs to make up.
Some 22 million people were thrown out of work in March and April of last year, and nearly 10 million of those jobs have yet to be recovered.
The end of 2020 brought renewed challenges as surging COVID-19 infections ushered in business-sapping restrictions.
But many economists expect growth to accelerate later this year as vaccination drives pave the way for a return to business as usual.
Another round of growth-boosting, tax-payer funded virus relief aid is also potentially in the cards. While President Joe Biden is trying to strike a bipartisan deal over the next round of stimulus, Democrats in Congress are laying the groundwork to push through Biden’s $1.9 trillion plan without reaching a compromise with Republicans.
Biden’s plan would enhance and extend federal unemployment benefits, bolster the nation’s vaccine drive, and send $1,400 stimulus cheques to qualifying Americans.
Senate Republicans have proposed a much smaller $618bn stimulus package that includes $1,000 stimulus cheques that would only be sent to the lowest-income earners.
This story is developing.