Joe Biden hammered on Friday the need to adopt his stimulus plan without delay, tempering the enthusiasm created by good employment figures in the United States, a sign however heralding a mini economic boom in the spring.
The text is currently being discussed in the Senate, mired in lengthy discussions. Democrats hope that this envelope of nearly 1.9 trillion dollars will be adopted there this weekend, before a final vote in the House of Representatives.
This plan “is absolutely essential to turn the situation around, get children back to school safely, offer a lifeline to small businesses and get the upper hand on COVID-19,” Biden insisted.
In February, 379,000 jobs were created, nearly three times more than in January, the Labor Department announced in the morning.
“At this rate, it will take two years to get back to the nails” and regain the level of February 2020, warned the US president.
Bars and restaurants, which have suffered particularly since the start of the crisis, are the ones that have hired the most last month. The ban on serving indoors has in fact been relaxed in some regions.
Other activities related to recreation and accommodation, as well as in health services, retail, manufacturing, also created new positions.
And the companies of the country are putting themselves in order of battle especially for the announced mini economic boom.
From the spring, consumption should indeed leap, driven by the vaccinations carried out with full speed, and by the public aid distributed since the start of the crisis which, coupled with falling spending, filled the bank accounts of Americans, in particular of more affluent.STIMULUS PLAN BOGGED DOWN IN THE SENATE
According to Joe Biden, the good job creation figures are certainly due to the $ 900 billion stimulus plan that was adopted at the end of December and signed by his predecessor Donald Trump.
And without new aids, all this “will slow down”, he warned, “we cannot take one step forward and two steps back”.
“The reopening of services will be the dominant element for employment in the coming months,” analyzes Ian Shepherdson, economist for Pantheon Macroeconomics, who expects 1 million jobs created in March.
But it will still take time to return to the pre-pandemic level since 9.5 million jobs are still lacking. The crisis destroyed 22 million. And 18 million Americans are still receiving an allowance, after losing their jobs or seeing their income plunge.
The return to full employment in 2021 is “quite improbable”, also warned Thursday the president of the American Central Bank (Fed), Jerome Powell.PERSISTENT INEQUALITIES
The unemployment rate, on the other hand, fell only very slightly to 6.2% after 6.3% in January. He was expected to be stable.
The apparent contradiction between strong job creations and an almost stable unemployment rate is partly explained by certain difficulties in recruiting, the unemployed not being ready for a return to work under any conditions.
It is also linked to the fact that the number of unemployed is emptying on one side, thanks to all those who find a job, but fills up on the other, with those who start looking for work again when they had abandoned, by choice or by obligation.
And, this start of recovery has not benefited the entire population, since black workers are the only ones to have seen their unemployment rate increase, from 9.2% to 9.9%.
Thus, the participation rate of Americans in the labor market is stable compared to January, at 61.4%, “close to its lowest level since the 1970s”, observe Gregory Daco and Lydia Boussour, analysts for Oxford Economics.
And “if we take into account people who have left the workforce (…) and persistent classification errors, the unemployment rate remains around 9.3%”, they add.
They expect, however, that 7 million jobs will be created in 2021, with unemployment below 5% by the end of the year.