New Jobs, But a Long Way to Go

The Department of Labor recently announced that the unemployment rate was at 6.2% in February 2021.

Department of Labor

The Department of Labor recently announced that the unemployment rate was at 6.2% in February 2021.

Mia Burke, Prospect Staff Writer

With the uncertainty of how the COVID-19 virus will carry out in the coming months, Many are wondering what will happen to the economy. In December, a $900 billion COVID-19 relief package was passed in Congress to help boost the economy. The package included unemployment benefits for around 11 million people and $600 checks to most households, as well as the renewal of the Paycheck Protection Program’s small business loans with forgiveness.

The December stimulus package was one of the first steps in tackling the economic issues of the pandemic.  A new report states that the economy added around 379,000 jobs in February.  The unemployment rate also fell a small margin from 6.3% to 6.2%, according to the Department Of Labor. This number is significantly lower than the unemployment rate of 14.4% from last April. As the virus eases, the unemployment rate may fall back to where it was earlier last year, to around 3.5%.

As COVID-19 cases are starting to fall, business restrictions are beginning to ease, signaling projected job growth in the coming months. Roughly 16% of the population has been vaccinated as of last week, and 25% are assumed to have immunity due to prior infections.

With a hopeful outlook on the economy, the Senate just passed the $1.9 trillion package this past Saturday. The plan includes a $1,400 stimulus check for tens of millions of Americans and $300 dollars in weekly unemployment benefits with a tax break. Other funding will go towards reopening schools and giving money to state and local governments. This plan would help the economy to rebound, which  has fallen victim to the hardships of the pandemic. 

Despite new variants emerging, as well as no herd immunity yet, the economy is slowly opening again, with restaurants opened at the highest level since last November. As the economy continues to shift in these next months, economists believe that there may be around a 6 million job gain this year. With this good news, there are still many hurdles in the future, and hopefully with this momentum, major economic gains will be seen in the upcoming months, but only time will tell.