Regulations and safety precautions surrounding COVID-19 had a dramatic impact on the U.S. economy. Millions of Americans lost their jobs, and Arkansas small businesses had to quickly adjust to reduced hours, curbside pickup or delivery services and a smaller workforce. Now, as states reopen, we are all watching to see what happens next.
The good news is that May’s job numbers blew past the original estimates. According to data released June 5 from the Labor Department, U.S. employment rocketed up by 2.5 million jobs in May, and the jobless rate fell to 13.3 percent.
“Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been expecting payrolls to drop by 8.33 million and the unemployment rate to rise to 19.5 percent from April’s 14.7 percent,” CNBC reported. “If Wall Street expectations had been accurate, it would have been the worst figure since the Great Depression.”
These encouraging numbers show that America is headed back to work, which will revitalize our economy. If you are one of the many people returning to your job, remember to continue following safety guidelines from public health officials, including washing your hands regularly and social distancing as much as possible.
It’s also important to note that just before the May jobs report came out, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer released an updated congressional calendar for 2020, showing when members will need to be in D.C. With six months remaining in the year, the House will only be in session for 42 days of legislative business. As members of Congress, we should be leading by example, not staying home while millions of Americans return to their jobs. I hope to see additional changes to the calendar that bring Congress back to work for our constituents.
Bruce Westerman is a U.S. Congressman from Arkansas. He is a Republican.