December’s Disappointing Job Numbers Show Government Should Loosen Restrictions on Economy

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On Friday, the Biden Administration released the jobs report for December 2021, showing the U.S. economy added 199,000 jobs. The number was far short of economists’ expectations of more than 400,000 new jobs last month.

CEI Senior Fellow Ryan Young said:

“Employment grew in December, though relatively slowly. While the unemployment rate is an ultra-low 3.9 percent, part of that is due to a relatively low labor force participation rate. The good news is that participation has been slowly increasing for several months now, due to a combination of adapting to COVID and benefit extensions expiring. The bad news is that today’s December data predates the worst of the omicron variant’s effects. The extent of omicron’s harm will be known about a month from now when January’s data are released.

“If policymakers want to keep the economy going in the right direction, they should get deficit spending under control, allow the Federal Reserve to get inflation down to its 2 percent target, and loosen policies that make it harder to find jobs and fix clogged supply networks. These include reforming occupational licensing rules, loosening burdensome permit and zoning regulations, and removing tariffs, shipping, and port regulations. The new year is the perfect time to start on these reforms.”