Unemployment has returned to pre-pandemic levels in some states, consumer spending on durable goods is skyrocketing and Amazon has had its best first quarter in history.
The US economy is coming back to life thanks to rapid vaccine rollouts, federal stimulus spending and the lifting of restrictions on businesses across the country. US GDP grew at an annualized rate of 6.4% in the first quarter, thanks to strong consumer spending.
But that number doesn’t tell the whole story, and the gains in the economy so far have not been distributed evenly across all households or sectors. Here’s a look at the patchy recovery so far.
Winner: 2.9% unemployment in Nebraska, South Dakota, Utah and Vermont—States where the labor market has returned to pre-pandemic levels.
Still bad: 9% unemployment in Hawaii, which is heavily dependent on tourism and the service sector. That’s nearly seven percentage points above Hawaii’s pre-pandemic rate of 2.1 percent.
Winner: the unemployment rate is 3.3% for people capable of working from home, according to data compiled last month by accounting firm KPMG.
Still bad: unemployment climbs to 7% for people who cannot work remotely, according to KMPG.
Winner: Graduate degree holders represent 52% of remote workers, according to KPMG. This is compared to just 16.3% of the labor force (aged 25 and over) who have a master’s, professional degree, or graduate degree, according to the Census Bureau.
Still injured: less educated workers are much less likely to be able to work from home. According to KPMG, only 9% of remote workers during the pandemic had only a high school diploma, compared to 24.3% of the labor force aged 25 and over.
Winner: White Americans were unemployed in March at 5.4% rate—This is lower than the national rate of 6.0%.
Still bad: black Americans were unemployed at 9.6% rate in March– it is higher than the national rate. The gap between white and black unemployment rates widened from 3 percentage points before the pandemic to 4.2 percentage points in March – a stark indicator that the coronavirus crisis has exacerbated racial inequalities for a long time. date on the job market.
Winner: spending on durable goods jumped 41.4% in the first trimester. The category includes appliances, cars, jewelry, and furniture, and that supercharged spending was accompanied by a 21.1% rise in personal income in March, largely thanks to government stimulus checks of $ 1,400. per person who started flocking to Americans that month. A New York Times The analysis found that the surge represented an additional $ 348.5 billion in spending in this sector (on an annual basis) than a pre-pandemic projection.
Still bad: the service sector saw only a slight increase of 4.6% in spending in the first quarter and was much slower to rebound. the New York Times found that the transportation services, leisure services, and restaurant and hospitality sectors (three sectors particularly affected by the pandemic) recorded spending of $ 430 billion less compared to a pre-pandemic projection.
Winner: Amazon revenue increased 44% to reach $ 108.5 billion in the first quarter compared to the same quarter of the previous year, in part due to this increase in spending on durable goods.
Still Wrong: Brick-and-mortar retailer Bed Bath & Beyond saw turnover drop by 16% during the fiscal fourth quarter (ended February 27, 2021) caused in part by store closures during the pandemic.