A Different Economy Two Years Later
With economic concerns at the top of voters’ minds in the run-up to the 2022 midterms, it’s worth considering how the economy has changed since the last election two years ago.
In November 2020, about eight months into the COVID-19 pandemic, unemployment stood at 6.7%, with nearly 5 million more Americans unemployed than there had been in the last full pre-COVID month, February 2020. The Bureau of Labor Statistics listed inflation that month at 1.2%, roughly in line with the average rate of inflation since 2010. The average price for a gallon of gas was $2.10. And amid a hot housing market, 30-year mortgage rates stood at 2.63%.
Today the picture of our economy looks completely different.
Unemployment has fallen back to near record lows of 3.5% as most of the country has returned to pre-pandemic life. But inflation today has soared far beyond pre-COVID levels, hitting heights not seen since the early 1980s.
As of September 2022, inflation stood at 8.2%, with Americans paying more for everything from groceries to rent. A global energy crisis has forced gas prices up to a nationwide average of $3.76 per gallon. And the biggest housing market slowdown in two decades has arrived as 30-year mortgage rates now stand at 6.99%.
With the growing possibility of a recession on the horizon, Americans are concerned about the nation’s economic future, and rightfully so.