Image Source: The Desert Sun
By: Michael Argenta
March 27, 2022
Neil Armstrong takes “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Woodstock attracts over 350,000 people. The Beatles record their final album. The year was 1969. Last week, Americans saw record low unemployment statistics for the first time in 53 years. With only 187,000 citizens filing for unemployment, 2022 marked the first occasion fewer Americans relied on benefits since 1969. However, while this appears as good news, many people are worried about other comparisons to the 1970s.
Just two years removed from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, these unemployment numbers are nothing short of remarkable. At the onset of Americans seeking benefits, claims reached record highs exceeding 6 million. Now, only 187,000 people rely on benefits to help them stay afloat. This bounce-back was, of course, fueled by a large government stimulus package but continues to surprise economists. As job growth increased by 5.7% last year: the unemployment rate was just 3.8%. However, as unemployment hits lows, inflation continues to hit new highs.
Prices are increasing at a pace not seen in 40 years. Relating to the 1970s, many people are worried about “stagflation” - when growth slowed even as price increases spiraled. Some analysts are even saying low unemployment claims suggest that the American economy is heading towards a recession: just like in 1969. Others claim the US economy is heading towards a repeat of the late 1940s and early 1950s. Either way, economists are pessimistic about this news because of historical trends. It will be interesting to see if any are correct or if new unseen consequences arise.
Overall, the lowest benefit requests since 1969 should excite Americans. Just two years ago, millions relied on unemployment, but look at the difference. As more people find good jobs or those with higher wages, more are employed. Don’t read too much into the past. Even if history repeats itself, America will continue to adapt.