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Economy is still in trouble

“Happy days aren’t here again for jobless workers but the labor market is slowly healing day by day.”

Those words from a research note by Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at the financial firm Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group are encouraging, but carry a tone of caution for anyone who has deluded themselves that we no longer need to worry about coronavirus.

Yes, the labor market is slowly healing (in some parts of the country, an assessment here in the Mid-Ohio Valley might tell a different story). But a danger still looms. If we don’t do what we need to do to stop the alarming spread of the virus, our economy is in a world of trouble.

According to the Associated Press, the economy is still 10 million jobs short of where it was in February. We made a little progress for a month or two, but in our jubilance, too many threw caution to the wind and failed to heed the warnings that second wave was coming and we still needed to work against it.

Now we are in the midst of that resurgence in coronavirus cases, which in itself could stall the economy again. Add to that Congress’ failure to pass another aid package to help those who never got back on their feet after the first wave, and our slow healing is in for a one-two punch that could knock us down for longer than what we experienced in the spring.

Too many Mid-Ohio Valley families would not be able to financially recover from such a blow. We are talking about a change in the standard of living for a significant percentage of our communities, if the people do not take seriously the need to follow guidelines and stem the spread of the virus (again); and Congress does not get off its two high horses and come together to provide the relief that is needed.

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