The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits rose last week from the lowest point of the pandemic, even as the job market appears to be rebounding on the strength of a reopened economy.
The jump in prices stems in many cases from a shortage of components and goods throughout the economy, from semiconductors to used cars, as well as surging demand from consumers who are increasingly traveling, shopping and eating out — and too few workers to serve them.
A healthy economic expansion has always depended on robust population growth to fuel consumer spending, justify business expansion and drive corporate earnings. Without a sizable influx of new workers, growth could stagnate.
Officials foresee inflation remaining tame in the two years following the post-pandemic recovery.
Last month’s job gain was above April’s revised total of 278,000, the Labor Department said Friday. The unemployment rate fell to 5.8% from 6.1%.
A separate survey of small businesses by the National Federation of Independent Business found that 44% had jobs they couldn’t fill, also a record high.
America’s employers added just 266,000 jobs last month, sharply lower than in March.
America’s employers unleashed a burst of hiring in March, adding 916,000 jobs in a sign that a sustained recovery from the pandemic recession is taking hold as vaccinations accelerate.
The Fed’s upgraded forecasts raised questions about what would cause it eventually to raise its key short-term rate, which affects many consumer and business loans.
Still, the February gain represents just a fraction of the roughly 9.6 million jobs that the economy needs to regain to return to pre-pandemic levels.
At the same time, the unemployment rate stayed at 6.7%, the first time it hasn’t fallen since April.
President Trump’s nearly one-week delay in signing the bill means that it will take that much longer for the financial support to arrive.
America’s employers sharply scaled back their hiring last month, adding 245,000 jobs, the fewest since April and the fifth straight monthly slowdown.
Yellen, widely admired in the financial world, would be the first woman to lead the Treasury Department.
Jerome Powell noted that the economic recovery has slowed in recent months compared with its rapid improvement in May and June.