Jobs Numbers Show Rolling Back Covid-19 Restrictions Would Restore Resilience in U.S. Economy

The Biden Administration’s Labor Department reported today that the United States added 559,000 jobs in May and the unemployment rate dropped to 5.8%.

CEI Senior Fellow Sean Higgins said:

“The Labor Department’s report Friday makes clear that rolling back the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 outbreak remains the surest way to restore resilience in the economy. The nation added 559,000 jobs in May, bringing the unemployment rate to 5.8% with increases in the leisure and hospitality sector (292,000 jobs) and public and private education (141,000) leading the growth thanks to loosened restrictions. The DOL said that 7.9 million people, down from 1.5 million in the previous month, reported that they were unable to work because their employer had closed or lost business due to the pandemic. That shift dwarfs the May’s job gains, suggesting the nation would be in significant trouble if it hadn’t eased the restrictions.”

CEI Senior Fellow Ryan Young said:

“It turns out the key to the COVID economic recovery isn’t stimulus payments. It isn’t a $6 trillion proposed budget, and it isn’t $2 trillion in infrastructure spending. The key to a quick recovery is people getting vaccinated so they can resume normal activities. There is still a ways to go, since 5.8 percent unemployment is still well above pre-COVID levels. But this week’s news that 63 percent of adults are vaccinated in the U.S. is a sign of continuing progress.

“As the economy continues to trend back to normal, there are still things policy makers can do to help. They should get more never-needed regulations off the books, and they should get rid of Trump-era trade barriers that raise consumer prices on everything from cars to housing. Not only would these provide an additional economic boost, they would do it without any new deficit spending.”