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Comparing Pandemic Unemployment to Past U.S. Recoveries
Unemployment fell at a slow and steady rate in the 10 cyclical recoveries from 1949 through 2019. These historical patterns also apply to the recovery from the pandemic recession after accounting for the unprecedented burst of temporary layoffs early in the pandemic followed by their rapid reversal from April to November 2020. Unemployment for other reasons—which has been most important in other recent recoveries—did not start declining until November 2020. Since then, unemployment for other reasons has declined at a faster pace than its historical average.