President Donald Trump on Thursday pledged to create 10 million jobs in less than a year. That’s a great goal, but with Covid-19 still not under control and the unpredictable path of the economic recovery, these job gains might be hard to come by.
“We will create 10 million jobs in the next 10 months,” Trump said during his speech at the Republican National Convention Thursday night.
It’s important to note these are unlikely to be new jobs. Most jobs that will appear over the next year will just replace those that were lost before Covid-19 hit the United States. More than 22 million jobs vanished this spring as a result of the pandemic lockdown, the worst job loss on record, and the unemployment rate peaked at 14.7% in April.
The economy has since added back more than 9 million jobs – also a record – and the consensus forecast for next week’s August jobs report is for 1.4 million jobs added, according to Refinitiv. But economists don’t think we can keep going at this pace.
“We project 8.3 million jobs [added] in the 10 months starting in August, so the goal is only modestly above our estimate,” Mike Englund, chief economist at Action Economics, told CNN. But this relies on the assumption of a working vaccine that allows more people to return to work.
It’s also notable that even with Trump’s promised 10 million additional jobs, the US economy would still have nearly 3 million fewer positions than it had in February.
Experts are still unsure whether the economic recovery will be V-shaped — defined by a sharp decline and a rapid rebound.
“The easy winds of the reopening are behind us,” said Vincent Reinhart, chief economist at Mellon.
Covid infections, developments around a vaccine or treatment, as well as economic hardship across the country are among the main driving factors that will determine any recovery. For example, prolonged remote working policies will affect jobs in the infrastructure around office buildings, such as coffee shops, lunch spots, nearby retailers and transportation. If office workers don’t return, there may be future job losses.
America’s economy runs on consumer spending. Data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis showed Friday morning that consumption rebounded more than expected in July, and the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment survey for the same month likewise improved more than expected.
But there was one notable change between July and August: Washington’s weekly $600 in supplemental unemployment benefits expired, and Congress hasn’t been able to agree on a follow-up or extension.