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February 2021 Jobs Report: U.S. Economy Added 379,000 Jobs

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She mentioned her frustration with someone she met at work. “He called his girlfriend, who called his stepdaughter, who called her boyfriend, who called his son who works for the labor exchange,” she said, and he was finally able to fix the error.

Ultimately, Ms. Pontia hopes to regain her old position. But “getting a job close to what I could have before seems absolutely impossible until things are more secure,” she said.

Fifteen hundred miles southwest in San Antonio, Jordan Alaniz was hired as a bartender at a French restaurant and bar on February 20. Ms. Alaniz, a 28-year-old mother of two infants, received her first Covid-19 vaccine this week. But even with the shot, she worries about working in a bar in a state without a mask mandate after Governor Greg Abbott withdrew the request.

“I’m definitely nervous,” said Ms. Alaniz, who previously worked in another restaurant. “The last time they lifted our mask mandate, we actually had a Covid outbreak at the place where I worked because they didn’t need masks there. That species traumatized me, and that’s why I was so adamant about getting the vaccine. “

Even so, Ms. Alaniz is fortunate to have a job. She appreciates that her new workplace takes virus logs seriously and that employees have to wear gloves and clean the facility regularly. The restaurant will continue to require customers to wear masks even though the governor lifted restrictions.

The different attitudes towards the risk of infection underscore why the shape of the economy remains uncertain after the pandemic, even if more and more people are being vaccinated.

Will people rush back to restaurants, theaters, sporting events, and shopping malls or change their behavior? Will the workplaces be fully utilized again or will they be switched to remote work? Will business travel and conferences return to previous levels?

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Robert Dunfee