(14 June 2021) In 2020, the US unemployment rate averaged 8.1%, the highest annual rate since 2012. In January and February of last year, the unemployment rate in the United States stood at a 50-year low of 3.5%, but unemployment soared to 14.7% in April 2020 due to mass layoffs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

US unemployment declined steadily in the second half of last year and has continued a gradual downward trend this spring. In May 2021 it reached 5.8%, which is 56% lower than the year before and equals the unemployment level of 2014.

Here are the US unemployment rate projections from the four leading sources:

  • According to the economic projections of the Federal Reserve, the unemployment rate in the US will average at 4.5% by the end of 2021 and pursue its fall in 2022 and 2023, reaching  3.8% and 3.5% levels correspondingly.
  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) projects that the unemployment rate will decrease to 5.8% in 2021 and continue to fall in the following two years, hitting the pre-pandemic level of 3.7% in 2023.
  • The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in its current Economic Outlook expects the rate of unemployment to drop to 5.6% in 2021 and then remain on a downward trend, falling to 4.3% by 2022.
  • The European Commission in its spring Economic Forecast projects that the US unemployment rate will decline to 4.6% in 2021, and then to 3.4% in 2022, dropping below the unemployment rate before the pandemic.

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