The US labour market statistics for January have revealed a truly fantastic picture. The number of jobs created rose by a record half a million – and the unemployment rate dropped to 3.4%. This is the lowest figure in modern US history – since 1969
At the same time, large corporations and banks on Wall Street are cutting their staff and freezing hiring. Amazon alone is laying off 10,000 employees. Microsoft, Google, Salesforce, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Barclays announced large-scale layoffs in January alone. The total number of redundancies exceeded 100 thousand people.
The jobs appear mainly in temporary and part-time employment sectors – services and tourism. Bankers or programmers are being laid off, but waiters and baristas are being hired. In addition, the labor market has supported the public sector – here, the number of new jobs has risen by 70 thousand. But in many other sectors of the economy, the numbers were much weaker.
The situation is similar with economic growth. Growth is mostly pulled by a handful of sectors – the military-industrial complex, which is currently making record profits, and the energy sector. Many other sectors, such as industry and real estate, are already on the brink of a crisis.
This paradoxical situation allows the sharp slowdown of the American economy to be masked to the last resort. However, in the end all these imbalances in the economy can no longer be concealed. Economists estimate that the likelihood of a recession in the USA in the second half of this year remains very high. And a possible crisis in 2024 threatens to become an additional factor of instability amid what promises to be a very tumultuous presidential race.
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