The U.S. economy added 678,000 jobs in February, according to newly released government figures. CEI economic and labor policy experts praised the good news and cautioned against government spending and regulations that will hinder the recovery.
Ryan Young, CEI Senior Fellow:
“Once again, economic news has moved in step with the virus. Case counts and severity have been going down for weeks, so people are opening up more. And now authorities are loosening mask mandates and other measures. No wonder more people are going back to work. The virus is now on the edge of no longer being the most important economic indicator, barring any new variants.
“There are challenges ahead from inflation and from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“The Fed will likely soon raise the federal funds rate and end its bond-buying program in order to fight inflation. Employers might react to this by decreasing hiring and investment somewhat until things stabilize. But the long-run benefits of stable prices will be more than worth it.
“Vladimir Putin’s hubris will cause oil prices to rise for some time, but Congress and President Biden can help by repealing the Jones Act, which raises domestic shipping prices so much that it is often cheaper for refiners near coasts to turn to foreign oil instead, often Russian.”
Sean Higgins, CEI Research Fellow:
“The continued decline in the employment rate, which fell to 3.8 percent in February, is further proof that the best remedy is to roll back the Covid pandemic restrictions and allow the economy to heal itself. The Labor Department reported Friday that only 4.2 million people were unable to work in February because their employer was closed or lost business due to the pandemic. That was down from 6 million who faced the same problem in January. That 1.8 million worker shift more than accounts for February’s overall gains of 678,000 jobs.
“New federal spending programs, minimum wage regulations, other government mandates aren’t needed to get us the rest of the way back to where we were in February 2020. We just need to put the pandemic behind us.”