Today, Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA), Chairman of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC), released the following statement after the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that nonfarm payroll employment increased by 428,000 in April and the unemployment rate remained stable at 3.6%. The unemployment rate was 5.9% for Black workers, 4.1% for Hispanic workers, 3.1% for Asian workers and 5.3% (not seasonally adjusted) for American Indian and Alaska Native workers.?
“The latest jobs data show the United States has now recovered 95% of the jobs lost during the pandemic. The unemployment rate has fallen to almost what it was before the pandemic, which is an accomplishment made even more incredible because exactly two years ago, the unemployment rate was nearing 15%.
“Continued job growth underscores the overall strength of the recovery, as strong demand for workers, goods and services has propelled the U.S to the fastest recovery among G7 countries. Unemployment has fallen rapidly under President Biden and workers have gotten the benefit of strong wage gains. The strength and speed of our rebound speaks to the effectiveness of the American Rescue Plan and other investments in workers, families and small businesses to address the pandemic and drive broadly shared economic growth.
“In fact, new business applications in 2021 reached the highest level ever recorded—including a record high for those businesses most likely to employ other workers—and were 68% higher than the average number of filings during the five years before the pandemic. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, employing almost half of the U.S. workforce, and they have come roaring back. This is true even among Black, Hispanic and Asian businessowners, who were most impacted by the effects of the coronavirus recession. This speaks to the effectiveness of small business relief to buoy those most affected and drive our economy forward.
“As we face global inflation that is denying U.S. workers and families the full benefits of our recovery, we’re continuing to see strength and resilience across our economy. Job gains were strong across industries, including in leisure and hospitality, which was most impacted by the pandemic. Consumption, the largest contributor to the U.S. economy, is up significantly, which reflects healthy household finances and strong consumer confidence. Business investment is also up, signaling that businesses are confident that the economy will continue to grow in 2022. Job openings are at an all-time high, and almost all of the workers who left during the recession have returned to the workforce. Continued high demand for workers is increasing worker bargaining power bringing marginalized workers into the workforce.
“Even with today’s data showing forward progress, investments to lower household costs, combat rising prices and ensure all workers can participate in the economy are essential to ensuring sustained long-term economic growth. Congress cannot let its foot off the gas and must act swiftly to enact Biden’s economic agenda, which will ?create high-quality jobs, lower costs for households, mitigate the harmful effects of climate change and promote long-term growth that is broadly shared.”