Popular Economics Weekly
Total nonfarm payroll employment declined by 140,000 in December, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.7 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.
“The decline in payroll employment reflects the recent increase in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and efforts to contain the pandemic. In December, job losses in leisure and hospitality and in private education were partially offset by gains in professional and business services, retail trade, and construction.”
The U.S. economy shed jobs for the first time in eight months in December, suggesting a significant loss of momentum that could temporarily disrupt the recovery from the pandemic. The economy has recovered 12.4 million of the 22.2 million jobs lost during the pandemic. Employment at bars and restaurants tumbled 372,000, accounting for three quarters of the drop.
And now the pandemic’s toll is 4,000 deaths per day which shows that without central planning to slow its spread the toll will only get worse. It is one more example of why government must be part of the solution to today’s problems, especially in protecting Americans’ health.
I believe the coronavirus pandemic is a major reason why this shift to more effective government is coming with the January 20 change of administrations, as even the vaccination rollout has lacked coordination that only the federal government can provide the states in charge of disbursing the vaccinations.
Operation “Warp Speed” is not reaching recipients-especially essential workers and the elderly—at anything approaching a warp speed.
The US does lead countries in providing COVID vaccinations as of January 7 with 5.92 million doses administered and China is second with 4.5 million doses as of Dec. 31, according to the World Data, a worldwide data collecting service. But this is a far cry from the HHS and the CDC prediction that 20 million doses should have been administered by Dec. 31.
According to Steven Rattner, a former Treasury official interviewed on MSBNC’s Morning Joe, Trump is the first president to have lost more jobs than he gained during his term since Herbert Hoover at the beginning of the Great Depression.
And businesses will remain shuttered and a majority of consumers continue to stay home until the pandemic has been brought under control. Any guesses on when that will happen?
Harlan Green © 2020
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