Five questions shaping a confounding US economy

The U.S. economy is in uncharted waters as its rapid recovery from the coronavirus recession runs into new obstacles. 

The April jobs report released Friday showed just how strong the economy has remained two years into a stunning comeback from the steepest decline since the Great Depression. The economy added 428,000 jobs, beating economists’ expectations, as the jobless rate remained just 0.1 percentage points above pre-pandemic levels.

But the solid jobs report capped off a week of deepening concern among policymakers and investors about the longer-term prospects of the U.S. economy. The stock market suffered its worst day of losses since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday as Wall Street braced for the Federal Reserve’s daunting battle against inflation. While stocks rose sharply in the wake of the Fed’s rate hike Wednesday, the market tanked as investors processed the lengths the bank may need to go to bring prices down…

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