Four Ways the Economy Is Working for Americans

December 3, 2021

Job numbers, wages, household wealth, and worker power have increased in 2021.

The Roosevelt Rundown features our top stories of the week.

The Economic Recovery Is on the Right Track

According to the Labor Department’s monthly report released today, the economy added 210,000 jobs in November. 

This month’s report adds to the bigger picture of what’s going on in our economy. And beyond a single headline number, the positive trends in 2021 are clear: The economic recovery is making life better for working-class Americans, and this is driven by policies like the American Rescue Plan and other federal stimulus. 

Total job growth in 2021 has been high, with more than 6.1 million jobs added so far this year—making this recovery one of the fastest in decades. And this month, unemployment dropped to 4.2 percentthree years faster than predicted by experts.

Wages and salaries have also increased—particularly for lower-income workers and when adjusted for inflation—as has household wealth

And greater wealth and increased opportunities have given workers more power in the workplace, allowing them to search for new jobs and to demand better wages and working conditions. 

There is still more work to be done. But it’s important to acknowledge the progress we have made, and the real improvements these policies have made to Americans’ daily lives.

Meet the Roosevelters

“To remix Dickens, it really is the worst of times and the best of times,” says Roosevelt Director of Corporate Power Niko Lusiani about the policy landscape of 2022. 

“On the one hand, the existential threats of white supremacy, patriarchy, authoritarianism, and climate catastrophe have not gone away by any means, and I fear are only strengthening . . . At the same time, there are more creative, dedicated, and capable people (including a number of former Roosevelters!) in government now than ever, working to build a new spirit of public purpose to replace the failed governing rationale of the past 40 years.

Read more about Lusiani in our new “Meet the Roosevelters” blog series, which seeks to give fresh insight into the people behind the Roosevelt Institute: our research interests, personal stories, and what drives us in our work.

What We’re Reading

Why the November Jobs Report Is Better Than It LooksNew York Times

The Privatization of Everything: How the Plunder of Public Goods Transformed America and How We Can Fight Back – by Donald Cohen and Allen Mikaelian

The Escalating Costs of Being Single in America [feat. Roosevelt’s Suzanne Kahn] – Vox

The Best Way to Fight Inflation: Ditch Fossil Fuels [feat. Roosevelt’s J.W. Mason and Todd N. Tucker]The New Republic