Economics in Brief: Government Underestimated Job Growth by 626,000 Over Four Months

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Economics in Brief: Government Underestimated Job Growth by 626,000 Over Four Months

Also, borrowers brace for federal student loan payments to resume, and more.

Government Underestimated Job Growth by 626,000 Over Four Months

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) underreported significant job growth over the summer, with revisions reporting an additional gain of 626,000 jobs, the Washington Post reports.

The Labor Department’s monthly job reports are revised after the BLS receives more information. Though revisions prior to the pandemic were often minimal, this summer’s numbers have changed drastically because COVID-19 has made it harder to make preliminary estimates.

In the meantime, Republicans have used initial statistics to criticize the Biden administration’s handling of the economy. “After months of failed policies and bad jobs reports, the one person who does not deserve credit for creating jobs is Joe Biden,” the Republican National Committee (RNC) said, in a press release. “To add to his list of failures, Biden announced an unconstitutional mandate threatening the jobs of millions of workers.”

Despite such criticism, MSNBC adds that October saw an increase of more than 500,000 jobs, with the unemployment rate reaching a 19-month low.

“I guess I’m not exactly sure why what’s happening isn’t being characterized as a booming recovery from a worldwide shutdown, ” said Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI).

The U.S. has created 5.8 million jobs this year and is expected to have created 7 million jobs by the end of 2021.

Federal Student Loan Pause Coming to an End

The pause on federal student loan payments will come to an end on January 31, CNBC reports.

The federal government initially enacted a student loan moratorium in March 2020, setting loan interest rates at zero percent and pausing student loan payments. The moratorium has been extended several times, with economists expressing concern over the number of people that would potentially default. One in ten Americans have defaulted on a student loan, affecting 9 million borrowers.

Loan providers are asking borrowers to prepare for their payments to resume, though the changes are likely to cause greater financial stress. Speaking to WWLP, Sydney Pasini said, “having not to think about it for the last two years because of the pandemic has really helped me financially. Now that it’s coming back on and going to start again, I’m definitely trying to budget myself more.”

The Federal Reserve reports that Americans owe a total of $1.73 trillion in student loans, with an average of $36,510 per borrower.

Kaiser and John Deere Workers End Strikes

Approximately 50,000 Kaiser Permanente healthcare workers have called off their planned strike after reaching a labor deal with the company on Saturday, Hawaii Public Radio reports. And 10,000 already striking John Deere workers ratified a contract Wednesday, the Washington Post reports.

Deere workers will receive an immediate 10 percent raise, an $8500 contract ratification bonus, and two 5 percent raises in 2023 and 2025; it’s similar to a previous offer that union members rejected, but includes “tweaks” to how bonuses are calculated, the Post said.

Next City previously reported on the planned Kaiser strike as workers expressed concerns over short staffing and inadequate wages. Initial negotiations with the company ended with a proposed two-tier wage system, which union members overwhelmingly rejected.

Now, the company has committed to a four-year contract that would help workers receive annual wage increases and maintain their benefits. A statement from the Alliance of Health Care Unions reveals that Kaiser will also create regional labor management staffing committees to fill vacant positions quickly so workers do not feel overwhelmed.

The labor deal only applies to the approximately 50,000 healthcare workers in 22 unions. Negotiations are still ongoing with pharmacists in Northern California and a group of engineers.

“We hope to reach agreements very soon,” Kaiser spokesman Steve Shivinsky said to Hawaii Public Radio.

This article is part of The Bottom Line, a series exploring scalable solutions for problems related to affordability, inclusive economic growth and access to capital. Click here to subscribe to our Bottom Line newsletter. The Bottom Line is made possible with support from Citi.

Solcyre (Sol) Burga was an Emma Bowen Foundation Fellow with Next City for summer 2021. Burga graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in political science and journalism in May of 2022. As a Newark native and immigrant, she hopes to elevate the voices of underrepresented communities in her work.

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Tags: jobscovid-19laborstudent debt

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