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Three numbers you need to know when talking about the economy

One of the best kept secrets in America today is that our economy is making an incredible comeback. Unemployment continues to drop, millions of new jobs and businesses are forming, and the economy is growing at a record-shattering pace. But the media is hardly talking about it. Instead, they’re ignoring the elephant in the room and hoping Americans don’t notice the progress we’ve made in recent months.

Here are the three most important economic numbers the media should be talking about.

$600 weekly boost in unemployment payments

Staying at home paid good money in the months following COVID-19 lockdowns. Congress passed sweeping changes that added a $600 weekly bonus in unemployment checks. It seemed like free money, but it came with a huge cost. As a result, more than three of every four recipients made more off-government benefits than they did at their jobs. Individuals were also no longer required to search for work while receiving benefits, inviting them to stay home and quit looking for work all together.

These changes meant to help our economy recover under the CARES Act backfired. Jobs were there but no one was taking them.

The $600 weekly bonus expired at the end of July and since then, our economy has taken a turn for the better. New unemployment claims have been consistently dropping off since the expiration and recipients are at their lowest levels since the pandemic hit. Now our economy is on a strong path to recovery with 3.8 million Americans returning to work in August alone. The unemployment rate is declining, and job creation is rising.

The media should talk honestly about theunemployment bonus’s impact on our job market. The “boost” did not stimulate our economy—it stunted growth. With new stimulus negotiations underway, we risk seeing this constricting policy return.

1.7 million new businesses

1.7 million new businesses have been started since June—a record high. To put that number into perspective, you could say start-ups are double what they were last year when measured by business applications, which are up by more than 62 percent from 2019. This rate of new business growth is unprecedented but it’s not making headlines on the nightly news.

Business formation is an important indicator of a rebounding economy because it reflects confidence in the U.S. economy. This is an encouraging sign of a bounce back that will bring more job opportunities for Americans.

Four million new jobs

With the unemployment bonus expiration and 1.7 million new businesses forming, it’s not surprising our economy is also seeing a job creation spike. Just over four million jobs have been added to the economy since July. A third of those jobs were added in August, the month following the unemployment boost expiration. Coincidence? We don’t think so.

Americans are getting back to work in industries including retail, professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, and education and health services. Furloughs and temporary layoff numbers have also plummeted. This significant increase in job creation combined with the steep unemployment decline are promising signs for a recovering economy.

America is in the midst of one of the greatest economic comebacks in history that everyone should be talking about. With a second wave of lockdowns looming around the world and another stimulus package in talks, we should be on guard against the false media narrative that expanding unemployment benefits will speed recovery. We’re better off without the $600-per-week unemployment boost, and we have 1.7 million new businesses and four million new jobs to show for it.

At FGA, we don’t just talk about changing policy—we make it happen.

By partnering with FGA through a gift, you can create more policy change that returns America to a country where entrepreneurship thrives, personal responsibility is rewarded, and paychecks replace welfare checks.