Hurray. The U.S. economy has revived so quickly that it’s now larger than it was before the pandemic. But it’s still no time to celebrate.
After a sizzling 6.5% rate of annualized growth in the spring, the size of the economy surpassed its pre-coronavirus peak. And it happened a lot faster than virtually anyone would have predicted one year ago.
“Last year at this time, the U.S. economy was facing a near Great Depression scenario,” said chief economist Scott Anderson of Bank of the West. “Much of the leisure and hospitality and service economy was flat on its back and the U.S. unemployment rate hovered at 10.2%. What a difference a year makes.”
Yet the economy is still not nearly as big as it would have been had the pandemic never happened at all. Economists estimate it’s about 2.7% smaller than it would have been without COVID.
Now 2.7% might not sound like much, but in a $22 trillion economy that’s a lot of missing jobs, worker pay and business profits.
Missing jobs is still a big problem for the economy.