What a vaccine means for America’s economy

What a vaccine means for America’s economy

Although the coronavirus is spreading unchecked, there are grounds for optimism

On november 9th the end of the coronavirus pandemic came into tantalising sight. Pfizer and BioNTech announced that their vaccine was more effective than expected. Investors’ hopes for a stronger economy sent stockmarkets soaring. Ten-year Treasury yields neared 1%, levels last seen in March (see article).

Even before the vaccine news broke, the speed of America’s economic bounceback was exceeding forecasts and surpassing others in the rich world. In April the imf reckoned that gdp would shrink by 6% in 2020. It now projects a decline of 4%. Unemployment peaked at 14.7% in April; in June the Federal Reserve had expected it to still be around 9% by the end of the year. It went on to fall below that rate only two months later. In October it stood at 6.9%.

Can a vaccine accelerate the economy’s return to its pre-covid state? The coronavirus is still spreading unchecked, with the burden often falling on the poorest. But many economists had also worried that the pandemic would leave broader economic scars that take time to heal. Here, a look at firms’ and households’ finances offers grounds for optimism.