25,400,000 jobs were lost last March and April here in the United States as employers scrambled into survival mode as COVID shutdowns and lockdowns occurred.
The debate will never end if the measures and steps taken were the correct ones, but the financial aid packages passed by the government and juiced unemployment benefits were lifelines to many of these 25.4 million unemployed people. Was there fraud, abuse, and misuse by some receiving these benefits? Of course there was. Anytime government provides relief, there will be abuses that go with it. It is unfortunate and the government acknowledges this flaw, but lean towards the help it provides to those that truly need it and overlook the abuses; except for the most obvious and egregious instances of abuse to which they pursue action.
I’m not saying this blind eye is good or healthy, just stating that this is the approach that has been taken. In a perfect world, the true need could be assessed on a person by person, situation by situation basis, but when there is urgency and political interest at stake, there is no time to assess. The relief bills passed in 2020 had plenty of bi-partisan support.
Here is some very good news! Notable number two in this week’s Weekly Market Review details that about 17,000,000 (67%) of the 25,400,000 people who lost a job in March or April of last year have now been rehired. Are there still folks and businesses struggling from fallout related to the pandemic – yes; but there are far fewer than there were eight, ten, or twelve months ago. Improving economic statistics like this one are fueling the controversy around the “need” of the current relief package. Like almost everything else related to this pandemic, this bill had been politicized.
A picture is worth a 1000 words right? City National Rochdale produces a monthly economic and market outlook by depicting twenty economic and financial indicators looking forward. When you compare this month to March of 2020, you can see further evidence of how greatly things have improved or maybe further evidence of what a mess things were last March. The contrast is remarkable.
As always, we hope you find the Weekly Market Review both informative and interesting. Have a great week!
Trevor N. Coe, CFP®