Page A1 | Napa Valley Register E-Edition

ELISE AMENDOLA, ASSOCIATED PRESS

A man enters a restaurant with the “Now Hiring” sign in Salem on Thursday. NHUS employers created a robust 379,000 jobs last month, most since October.

J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE, ASSOCIATED PRESS

Senator Joe Manchin, DW.Va., left, and Senator John Cornyn, R-Texas, head to the Chamber at the Capitol in Washington on Friday while the Senate is on a voting marathon for the $ 1.9 trillion COVID-19 – Relief for the Democrats heading for bill, which is expected to end with the approval of the measure by the Chamber.

WASHINGTON – Hiring in the US has accelerated faster than expected over the past month. This shows that a year after the pandemic broke out, the economy is recovering as virus cases decline and vaccinations increase.

A government report on Friday showed that employers created a sturdy 379,000 jobs in February, driven by a surge in distressed restaurants and bars. This suggests Americans will begin to hit the road and spend more as progress is made against the coronavirus and states relax business restrictions.

The February gain was a significant increase from the 166,000 jobs added in January and the loss of 306,000 in December. However, it is only a fraction of the roughly 9.5 million that the economy needs to regain to get back to where it was before the crisis.

Unemployment fell from 6.3% to 6.2%, the Ministry of Labor said. This is a dramatic decrease from 14.8% last April, shortly after the virus broke out in the US. But it is well above the prepandemic rate of 3.5%.

“The recovery really has some legs, now some momentum,” said Odeta Kushi, assistant chief economist at First American Financial Corp.

Stocks fluctuated throughout the day but ended up significantly higher. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 572 points, or about 1.9%, and the S&P 500 rose nearly 2%.

The report suggests the economy is on the mend and could complicate President Joe Biden’s struggle to enforce his $ 1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package that passed the house and before Senate lies.

Meanwhile, Senate chairmen and moderate Democratic Senator Joe Manchin signed an emergency unemployment benefits contract late Friday and broke a nine-hour traffic jam that stalled the relief bill.

The compromise announced by the West Virginia legislature and a Democratic adviser appeared to pave the way for the Senate to begin a climatic marathon voting series that would lead to the approval of the comprehensive legislation.

The overall bill, Biden’s number one legislative priority, aims to fight the killer pandemic and bring the tiered economy back to health. It would provide direct payments of up to $ 1,400 to most Americans and money for COVID-19 vaccines and tests, aid to state and local governments, aid to schools and the aviation industry, and subsidies for health insurance.

While the Senate next voted on a batch of amendments that would likely go overnight, the Democratic leaders’ agreement with Manchin indicated that it was only a matter of time before the House passed the bill. That would send it back to the House, which was expected to give final Congress approval and send it to Biden for signature.

The lengthy break of the day also underscored the headaches that party leaders faced over the next two years as they tried to move their agenda through Congress with a small majority.

Manchin is probably the chamber’s most conservative Democrat and a kingmaker in a 50:50 Senate that leaves his party without voting rights. With the small majority of Democrats – they only have a house edge of 10 votes – the party needs its vote but cannot lean too far into the middle without losing progressive support.

With 10 million fewer jobs since the pandemic a year ago, helping unemployed Americans is a top priority for Democrats. But it’s also a problem that has created a rift between progressives who want to help unemployed constituents cope with the dismal economy and Manchins and other moderates who want to cut some of the cost of the bill.

Around 4 million people who have lost their jobs have stopped looking for work and are therefore not classified as unemployed. If they were included along with a separate group classified as working, the unemployment rate would be 9.3%, according to Oxford Economics.

Still, economists are optimistic that hiring will accelerate in the coming months. Households as a whole accumulated a huge pile of savings as Americans cut their spending. Much of it is expected to be spent when people are more comfortable going out.

Employment growth last month was driven by steady rebound in bars, restaurants and hotels. Bars and restaurants in particular returned, creating 286,000 jobs as business restrictions eased in California and other states. This week, Texas, along with several other states, announced that it would fully reopen its economy.

The virus has killed more than half a million Americans. Deaths and new cases per day have decreased in the past two months, although they are still alarmingly high. The US has an average of nearly 1,800 deaths and 62,000 newly confirmed infections per day.

The U.S. has given over 82 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, according to the Centers Disease Prevention and Control. More than 21% of the country’s adults have received at least one shot, and nearly 11% have been fully vaccinated.

“The best incentive is vaccination,” said Constance Hunter, chief economist at KPMG. “I hope we don’t fall back on the virus,” states reopen.

Employment growth over the past month has been severely uneven. The unemployment rate among whites fell slightly to 5.6% and among Hispanics to 8.5%. Among the Asians, it fell to 5.1%. For black Americans, however, it rose from 9.2% to 9.9%.

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