Home Economy MARK-TO-MARKET: Underperforming labor market running out of excuses | Business & Economy

MARK-TO-MARKET: Underperforming labor market running out of excuses | Business & Economy

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In March and April of 2020, more than 22.3 million jobs were lost as government-mandated business closures and restrictions decimated entire swaths of the U.S. economy. The leisure and hospitality sector alone lost more than 8.2 million jobs — 48% of its pre-pandemic labor force. The national unemployment rate surged from a 50-year low of 3.5% in February 2020 to 14.8%, just two months later.

But over the past 16 months, the labor market has made substantial progress. The economy has since recovered 17 million of those lost jobs and the unemployment rate has declined to 5.2%. However, this still leaves a massive 5.3 million jobs yet to be recovered. Of the 11 sectors of the economy tracked by the U.S. Department of Labor, none has reached its pre-pandemic level of employment.

Despite the steady progress, there’s a growing concern the labor market’s recent gains have vastly underperformed versus Wall Street’s expectations. In August, the…

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