US economy recovering from pandemic as inflation surges

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(NewsNation Now) — The nation is rapidly recovering financially from the coronavirus pandemic, but that good news has a dark side — an inflation rate that hasn’t been seen for decades.

Economists say higher prices are connected to the pandemic and will likely last well into next year.

During April 2020, the peak of the pandemic, the official unemployment rate was 14.7%, the highest rate since 1948. At the time, many workers lost their jobs and businesses were forced to shut down.

As vaccines became more available in 2021, so did job openings, dropping the unemployment rate to 4.2% by November this year.

But experts say many workers are not returning, especially in transportation, retail and the hospitality sectors. They also say many baby boomers decided to retire altogether, while others are more focused on quality of life than a boost in income.

Now, some businesses are forced to raise prices to meet their bottom line.

Retail giant Dollar Tree, making an unprecedented move, is raising prices for the first time in 35 years. All items now are a minimum of $1.25.

Economists say the culprit for inflation is COVID.

“We are all spending when we have a time period where resources are a little bit more limited because manufacturers shut down for COVID and we had the supply chain issues,” said Bill Bendie, a certified financial planner. “All of this is combined to create this inflation that many argue will go away after we get our fill of this post-COVID buying spree.” 

Not all economists are seeing eye to eye on when the inflation will end. Some warn the rising prices could stick around until next year.

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