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 2.6% in the fourth quarter of 2022. This reflects the continued economic recovery and reopening of economic activities. As per BEA (Bureau of Economic Affairs), the US economy grew at 2.1% in 2022. The real GDP decreased by 3.6% since 2021 in contrast to a 3.5% contraction in 2020. In 2022, the US economy has fallen by 3.6% 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, no-farm employment is 0.8% lesser as compared to the pre-pandemic level in February 2020.
Economic Overview of the USA 2022-23
The following is a graphical representation of the sector-wise GDP in the USA for the year 2022-23:
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The largest job gains were seen in Professional, scientific, and technical services along with leisure and hospitality, manufacturing, transportation and warehousing. Employment in professional and business services shows an upward trend and since February 2022, employment in professional and business services has increased by 41,000. In the same period, 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 (concerning the first quarter of 2021).
What does this mean for international students?
The addition of jobs along with a low unemployment rate is 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 the 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 benefit. Having a full-time job is crucial for those staying back in the US on OPT.
As per the Open Doors Report 2022, 1,99,812 Indian students were studying in the US during the academic year 2022-23. 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.
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