This doesn’t resolve the convulsions following the killing of George Floyd, but at least America is finally starting to put the previous crisis behind.
Even as much of the nation has begun to reopen, economists predicted that the May jobs numbers would continue to depress. Many predicted US unemployment to reach Depression-era levels of around 20 percent.
Instead, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported May’s unemployment rate was 13.3 percent, dropping from 14.7 percent in April (the highest since the Second World War).
The 2.5 million jobs added last month made for the biggest jump in US history.
That’s quite the rebound after the quickest drop ever, thanks to the three-month lockdown that, out of the blue, put tens of millions out of work.
Plus, these are last month’s numbers: June, when even hard-hit New York City will start to reopen, should be better still.
All of which raises real hope the entire national recovery will be a rapid bounce-back — instead of a slow, years-long plod to reach the heights America knew in February.
More grounds for hope: All indications are that the virus is losing. The city says there were zero coronavirus deaths one day this week, the first time since March 11.
At its peak, COVID-19 was killing 500 residents a day.
Statewide, deaths have been dropping since early April, and total hospitalizations are also plummeting.
The national infection numbers are trending down, too. The country’s still recording around 20,000 new cases a day — but that’s largely because testing has finally scaled up to where it needs to be. Most important: The percentage of tests coming back positive is falling — even in states like Florida that led the way in reopening.
Anthony Fauci, the White House infectious disease expert, is now optimistic, too, announcing that it’s “a bit of a reach” to say schools need to be shuttered through fall.
Masks and social distancing won’t go away soon; attending indoor concerts and the like is still far off. But hotels, entertainment and even the airlines — some of the hardest-hit industries — are all coming back.
Americans are putting the pieces of their economy and their society back together. What a relief.