Dec 4, 2020 - Politics & Policy

The recovery needs rocket fuel

Data: BLS. Chart: Axios Visuals

Friday's deeply disappointing jobs report should light a fire under Congress, which has dithered despite signs the economy is struggling to kick back into gear.

Driving the news: President-elect Biden said Friday afternoon in Wilmington that he supports another round of $1,200 checks.

Why it matters: Lawmakers need to pass a funding bill — which they plan to pair with a stimulus deal — by next Friday to avert a government shutdown.

  • Today's jobs report: 245,000.
  • Last month's jobs report: 610,000.
  • 400,000 people dropped out of the labor force last month.
  • America has 9.8 million fewer jobs than in February.

Between the lines: Republican and Democratic leaders are sounding more optimistic that Congress has a shot at passing coronavirus stimulus in the near future.

  • There is still a lot of skepticism from lawmakers across Congress.
  • The parties are still far apart on some of the package’s key priorities, mainly more money for state and local aid and widespread liability protections.

A promising sign: Many Senate Republicans who have balked at a high price tag for the deal, like John Thune and Lindsey Graham, said they are open to supporting the $908 billion framework rolled out by a bipartisan group of lawmakers earlier this week.

  • Speaker Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Schumer said they support the bill — despite months of insisting they wouldn’t agree to anything under $2.2 trillion. 

The bottom line: 34.9% of the 10.7 million people unemployed in November were permanent job losses, noted S&P Global U.S. Chief Economist Beth Ann Bovino in an analyst email:

  • "The harsh reality is that we don't expect the economy to regain all the 22.2 million jobs lost from the pandemic until first-quarter 2023."
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