A Tepid ‘Recovery’?

There’s a fairly anemic jobs report out today. The economy added 235,000 jobs in August. That’s just okay in normal times and pretty disappointing compared to recent months when closer to a million jobs were created. Commentary I’m seeing is pointing to a weaker than expected recovery. And that’s true as far as it goes. But what jumps out to me is that the dialog about the economy, the robustness and consistency of the recovery, hasn’t really caught up to the fact that COVID isn’t actually over.

Everything’s relative. We’re in a much better position than we were a year ago. Getting gravely ill from COVID is now mostly voluntary. But over 1500 people died in the US from COVID yesterday. Schools are opening but with various kinds of in-person mitigation. Most people I know are still not dining out or socializing or traveling in just the same way they did before the pandemic. More than a year ago, definitely. But not the same as two years ago. I’m not telling you anything more than we all know. My point is that we still appear to be operating in – or at least economics and politics talk seems to be operating in – this model of how quickly we’re bouncing back even though we’re still in it. So it’s not a huge surprise that we’re not bouncing back that quickly. Or that the bounce back is partial and limited.

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