When Do Economists Think We Will Recover All the Jobs We’ve Lost?

October 8, 2020

First-time claims for unemployment benefits totaled 840,000 last week, more than the 825,000 that Wall Street had forecast. The number of new claims has remained persistently high since March, and the number of new jobs created each month has slowed, causing some to worry that the economic recovery may be losing steam.

The recent spate of data has more economists think that the return to pre-pandemic employment levels will be a slow climb instead of a rapid bounce. In the Wall Street Journal’s most recent survey of academic and business economists, more than half say it will take until 2023 or beyond for the economy to recover all the jobs lost during the pandemic. When the survey was conducted in April, the majority thought we’d recover the jobs by the third quarter of 2022.

The survey notes possible reasons for the slowing recovery include the continued spread of the virus, uncertainty surrounding the election, and the prospects of another stimulus package.

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