Full employment could return in 2022 if stimulus passes, Yellen says


  • Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said US employment could return to normal by 2022.
  • She said a speedy economic recovery hinges on whether or not President Biden’s relief bill passes. 
  • Democrats and Biden have indicated they will pass the package with or without bipartisan support. 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the US could see employment rebound to pre-pandemic levels by 2022 if Congress passes President Joe Biden’s coronavirus stimulus package. 

“This package is going to really speed recovery. And analysis by Moody’s and economists at the Brookings Institution show that very clearly — that we will get people back to work much sooner with this package,” Yellen said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. 

“I would expect that if this package is passed that we would get back to full employment next year.”

Yellen also said that the consequences of not passing a robust stimulus bill would be dire. 

“If we don’t provide additional support, the unemployment rate is going to stay elevated for years to come,” Yellen said, citing a report from the Congressional Budget Office. “It would take until 2025 to get the unemployment rate back to 4% again. We would have a long, slow recovery like we had after the financial crisis.”

President Biden’s proposed relief package would commit $1.9 trillion to aid state and local governments, fund vaccination efforts, distribute a wave of $1,400 stimulus checks, and temporarily enhance unemployment benefits, among other efforts. 

Read more: Biden’s stimulus plan is heightening Wall Street’s worries that inflation will upend the stock market. We spoke to 4 experts on what the raging debate means for investors, and how to take advantage of it.

Although it’s not the massive infrastructure and job-creation bill Biden plans for the future, the relief package will help dig the US out of the “deep hole” it currently faces with respect to the job market, Yellen said during an appearance on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday.

“The spending it will generate is going to lead to demand for workers, help put people back to work, especially when we can get vaccinations and the public health situation to the point where the economy can begin to open up again,” Yellen said. “I’d point out, it includes aid to state and local governments. We’ve seen already 1.3 million workers fired off state and local payrolls because of shortfalls that they have in revenues.”

The bill would also aim to bring women back into the workforce through several measures, Yellen said.  

“The American Rescue package that President Biden has proposed really addresses the problems that women face. It places huge emphasis on getting our schools open safely, getting children back into school, providing paid family and medical leave during this crisis,” she said. 

The White House is currently trying to push the bill through Congress, though it’s facing opposition from Republican lawmakers over its size. This week, the Senate approved a resolution that would allow it to pass the bill with a simple majority, and Biden indicated he would move forward with the package with or without Republican support. 



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