It is important to note however, these forecasts are cautiously optimistic as they are based on certain scenarios that facilitate a steady path to recovery. Two such scenarios are the wider distribution of vaccines to more countries resulting in a meaningful decline in global coronavirus cases and deaths. Additionally, governments of key economies would need to improve their management of international conflict and trade.
For some regions, just reopening economies will create GDP and job growth, increase international trade, boost consumer confidence, and fuel faster recoveries. Other regions, such as underdeveloped countries, may need some help from world organizations and developed countries to curb the pandemic and make economic recovery successful.
Focusing back on the U.S., we are seeing positive signs ahead for the U.S. job outlook. Based on Q1 numbers, the BEA, and BLS data, as well as our own analysis, we are witnessing an increasingly safer atmosphere to do business, companies hiring, and glimpses of a return to normalcy. Overall, during the first three months of 2021, job gains totaled 1.617 million. But there is more to be confident about. During our analysis, CONTI took a deep look at the future of U.S. job recovery by industry. Reflected in the table below, we forecast overall job growth to increase by 1.9% in 2021. Looking further ahead, we expect an average annual job growth at 1.7% through 2026.
As April job numbers illustrated, it will not be a steady journey. Jobs are coming back and labor demand is there but some industries are struggling to find labor supply as many potential applicants can temporarily remain on the sideline. One key outlier and potential headwind will be how U.S. policy makers navigate the transition from a stimulus-fueled economy to a labor market running under its own momentum.