• Five interns are working for JAG this summer on various projects. They hail from Washington University, Southern Methodist University, Saint Louis University, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, and Miami University/Ohio.
• JAG’s Chicago office has expanded and moved to Chicago’s iconic and beloved Wrigley Building at 400 North Michigan Avenue. We welcome visitors!
Important and welcome progress in the global war versus COVID-19 continues apace. As of early July, over 182 million people — almost 55% of the total American population — have received at least one dose of the vaccine (source: ourworldindata.org). The Centers for Disease Control (CDC)’s May relaxation of mask guidance opened the path to normalized work and social activities in the US for those who are fully vaccinated. This is due largely to widespread adoption of vaccinations and the high probability that the US population is crossing the threshold into herd immunity.
Economic Activity Ramps Up
Not coincidentally, economic activity has ramped up significantly as consumers and businesses have re-oriented to some version of a post-COVID reality. Although many growth statistics are obviously skewed by the fact that the year-over-year data is now lapping the dismal statistics from early/mid-2020, we are now seeing some of the most robust economic growth data ever seen or likely to witness again in the near future. US GDP (Gross Domestic Product) increased at an annual rate of 6.4%¹ in the first quarter and is on pace for an annual rate of +7.9%² for the second quarter. After peaking at almost 15% in April 2020, the civilian unemployment rate collapsed to less than 6%³ by June 2021. Indeed, there is now arguably a labor shortage. Despite wage growth of 4.6% — the highest year-over-year growth in wages since the early 1980’s — many businesses are finding it difficult to fill open positions. The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) May survey showed that 48% of small businesses had at least one job they were unable to fill. This is the
highest such survey result for this datapoint since 1975.