Unemployment Drops to 11 Percent, Showing the Economy Can Recover If We Let It

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The Labor Department’s announcement Thursday that the unemployment rate fell to 11.1 percent after the economy added 4.8 million jobs in July proves the previous month’s decline was no fluke and that the best way to recover economically from the COVID-19 outbreak is to simply let businesses reopen. Unemployment remains far too high, but it is at least edging closer to normal from before the outbreak.

Particularly hopeful is the fact that Thursday’s numbers were fueled by gains in leisure and hospitality employment, sectors that took some of the hardest blows. It shows that additional multi-trillion dollar federal aid packages aren’t needed. Businesses want to get back into business, workers want to get back to work, and customers want to shop.

Faced with an unprecedented crisis, people have learned to adapt. They’ve changed the way they work and the way they do business, accepting the safety measures they must now incorporate. It’s an testament to American determination that people are simply refusing to let the coronavirus undermine their ability to live as normal of a life as possible.

Safety measures remain important, lives remain at risk, and we should all proceed cautiously. But rules like California’s AB5 or other regulations that strictly regulate work aren’t helpful at a time when the very nature of that work has to be rethought. Infection spikes after some cities’ and state’s reopenings have prompted many elected officials to abruptly reverse course. They should be as cautious in reinstituting lockdowns as they were in allowing businesses to reopen. We cannot afford to indefinitely pile up debt prevent people from working. People need to work and businesses need to get back to business. The good news is that American workers seem to be eager to get back to it.