Economic Overview of the United States and What it Means for International Students

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Piyush Kohli
Study Abroad Expert
Updated on May 26, 2022 15:39 IST

According to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, the US economy has come back sharply from COVID effects and the real GDP has grown at a rate of 6.9% in the fourth quarter of 2021. This reflects the continued economic recovery and reopening of economic activities. As per BEA (Bureau of Economic Affairs), the US economy grew at 5.7% in 2021. The real GDP increased 5.7% in 2021 in contrast to a 3.5% contraction in 2020. In 2019, the US economy has expanded by 2.3% according to the data provided by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

The total non-farm payroll employment increased by 428,000 in April 2022, while the unemployment rate stood at 3.6%. However, the no-farm employment is 0.8% lesser as compared to the pre-pandemic level in February 2020.

Largest job gains were seen in the leisure and hospitality, manufacturing, and transportation and warehousing. Employment in professional and business services shows an upward trend and since February 2020, the employment in professional and business services has increased by 41,000. In the same time period, the employment in the industry has increased by an absolute 738,000.

This is the first time that the unemployment rate has dipped below 5% in eight years. In the financial report, one good development was wage growth. Wages and salaries grew by 5% in the private sector, in the first quarter of 2022 (with reference to first quarter of 2021).

What this means for international students

The addition of jobs along with a low unemployment rate is a good news for international students, particularly for those who are looking for full-time opportunities. As the economy and economic systems reopen after the COVID-induced restrictions, businesses will be looking to expand again and this will signal creation of new jobs. The data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also signals the same. The creation of new jobs in the market is good news for both American nationals and international job-seekers. Those looking for full-time jobs but are stuck in part-time ones will definitely benefit. Having a full-time job is crucial for those staying back in the US on OPT.

As per the Open Doors Report 2021, 167,582 Indian students were studying in the US during the academic year 2020-21. A slight decrease in the number of students going to the US is more of a “COVID blip” and the overall trend has been generally positive. Usually, Indians have remained the top beneficiaries of the high-skilled H-1B visas and comprise the second-largest community of international students staying in the US. Such a large number of students accepted at US universities reflects the US Government’s policy of inviting more skilled workers in the future. If you consider the fact that approx. 80% of all Indian students in the US have chosen courses in the fields of engineering, math, and computer science, it makes all the more sense for the government to create more job opportunities. As these courses fall under the category of STEM, the stay on OPT is longer for these courses.

The bottom line is that the American economy seems to be stable, as long as the job market continues to expand. Looking at the trends in 2022 that seems to be the case. Job availability after graduation should not be an issue for international students in the near future.

About the Author
Piyush Kohli
Study Abroad Expert

With a plethora of knowledge of the education domain, Piyush Kohli has been involved with study abroad for over 5 years and counting. He comes with prior experience on the complexities of the study abroad applicatio... Read Full Bio


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