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US GDP grew 5.7% in 2021 after decreasing 3.4% in 2020.

This is the highest GDP growth rate in 37 years. GDP reached almost $23 trillion in 2021.​


The economy added 6.7 million jobs in 2021, rebounding from 9.3 million lost jobs in 2020.

The leisure and hospitality sector added the most (2.3 million) but remained 11.2% below February 2020 employment levels. The professional and business services sector added 1.1 million jobs, the second-most of all sectors, and is back to pre-pandemic employment levels in December 2021. The utilities sector was the only sector to lose jobs overall last year, falling by 3,300. ​​


2021's average annual unemployment rate was 5.4%, about 2.7 percentage points lower than in 2020 but 1.7 points higher than 2019.

Although unemployment spiked during the early months of the pandemic, the average annual unemployment rate remained lower than the 9.6% high in 2010 that resulted from the Great Recession.​​


The labor force participation rate remains 1.2 percentage points below February 2020.

This is equal to 896,000 fewer Americans working or looking for work than pre-pandemic. Labor force participation remains especially low for three groups: people 55 and older, Black women, and Hispanic women.


About 12,000 more businesses closed than opened in 2020.

Business closures exceeded openings during the first half of the year. More businesses closed than opened during the Great Recession as well, but it took a year from the start of the recession for openings to bounce back and surpass closings.


Before adjusting for inflation, average hourly earnings grew from $28.56 in February 2020 to $31.40 in December 2021, increasing by 10%.

However, inflation is muting the purchasing power of these gains. After accounting for inflation, hourly earnings increased 1.6%.


Consumer prices were 7.5% higher in January 2022 than January 2021, the largest 12-month change in 40 years.

The Federal Reserve aims to achieve inflation that averages 2 percent.

Economy and Jobs

Last year, the US imported $861.4 billion more in goods and services than it exported, leading to a 21.6% increase in the trade deficit from 2020.

The trade deficit in goods reached $1.1 trillion in 2021, near the all time high.

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