Kitchen Table Economics

2021: An Economic Year in Review

Following the height of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, 2021 has been characterized by an all-out effort to navigate variants of the virus and to encourage Americans to voluntarily get vaccinated. And because a majority of the population did get pricked, the U.S. economy is on the road to recovery—despite a series of public policy speedbumps.

Government spending-induced inflation, looming tax hikes, supply chain problems, labor shortages, and the threat of additional regulations have slowed economic gains. But the small businesses that power America’s economic engine are resilient. Below are some quick stats to illustrate the current state of the economy:

  • Since January, 5.8 million jobs have been clawed back, but much work remains. There are 4.2 million fewer filled positions now than prior to the pandemic.
  • The unemployment rate has dropped 2.1 points to 4.6 percent. It still remains below pre-pandemic levels.
  • So far, in 2021, consumer prices have risen by roughly 6 percent—a result of reckless government spending combined with spiking demand following the pandemic.

The U.S. economic recovery is well underway. But Congress and the White House should be careful to avoid sabotaging more gains.