Massachusetts pandemic recovery ‘may be slow’ even as restrictions lift, economist saysMarch 9, 2022
A long road of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic lies ahead in Massachusetts, many economists have said.
The number of cases and hospitalizations are on the decline and vaccination rates are rising. More locales are lifting restrictions as people return to offices and shopping centers, giving credence to an inflation-marred economy headed toward a recovery.
The coronavirus has been in control, and it may continue to be that way for the foreseeable future.
“The impact mainly comes through the travel/movement restriction and input supply chain issues,” Dr. Adugna Lemi, chairman of the Department of Economics at the University of Massachusetts Boston, told The Center Square. “Both of these issues have implications on the cost of travel and cost of production. In turn, these effects manifest through a rise in prices (inflation), input shortage and less production capacity utilization (low employment rate).”
Lemi said it’s unlikely that the return to normalcy will be quick.
“First, there are still some pockets (countries, regions, locality) that are not yet fully on board about the lifting of restrictions,” Lemi said. “Second, some companies (employers) and producers may have already adjusted themselves to the point of no return; that is, they have gotten used to a cost-saving mode and they may prefer to stay there.”
For instance, Lemi said, flexible working modality (office versus remote) may be here to stay as it saves costs and also helps keep some employees on their job.
Perhaps most importantly, the pandemic isn’t over yet, Lemi said. It may change into an endemic, and that in fact, reinforces the reasons why companies prefer to stay with the new normal.
“There will definitely be an improvement over the last two years, but I am not sure if we will be back to pre-pandemic level in 2022,” Lemi said. “Recovery may be slow and I don’t expect it to be over in 2022.”
This article was originally posted on Massachusetts pandemic recovery ‘may be slow’ even as restrictions lift, economist says