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The economy is ailing again and layoffs are rising, but vaccines offer hope for cure

The speed of the vaccination effort will determine how quickly the U.S. economy recovers in 2021. It’s not just the lives of Americans that rest on a quick rollout of coronavirus vaccines, it’s the livelihoods of millions of people who lost their jobs during the pandemic.

Almost every forecast for the U.S. economy predicts a big rebound in growth and employment in 2021, but it sure doesn’t feel that way right now with the coronavirus still spreading like wildfire.

The last few weeks alone have shown weaker hiring, rising layoffs, and declining consumer spending, all of which point to a faltering economy. Many businesses have closed, cut their operating hours and laid off workers, leaving some 10 million Americans who had jobs before the pandemic still out of work.

The bad news hasn’t stopped investors from piling more money into the stock market, however. They are also betting on a big rebound in the economy this year and next.

What they are watching most is the speed at which the vaccines are administered, how rapidly the pandemic recedes and what steps new […]

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