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Delta Variant Thwarts Economists’ Labor Day Optimism

The surge in the delta variant of COVID-19 has the U.S. seeing new hurdles thwarting its economic recovery, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

This is a reversal from the predictions earlier in the summer, which had Labor Day as the moment when the economy would be revving back to a normal speed.

The expectation was that the availability of vaccines would be able to soothe the labor shortages around the country. That, analysts said, would have meant a way for local businesses to start making money on office workers again.

Now, with the more-contagious delta variant continuing to do harm around the country, along with vaccination rates that have been slower than hoped, businesses are having to quickly pivot, reintroduce mask mandates and sometimes delay the return to working in-person at the office.

Meanwhile, the virus’s continued presence has seen consumers buying less and being more hesitant again. And in August, the renewed crisis saw hiring pressures falling drastically, with restaurants and stores slicing staff. And in August, the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment measure was sitting at its lowest rate in a decade. Americans cited worries about the delta variant along with the rising inflation as common worries.

However, WSJ writes that the dampening on the economy might also help the pressures of inflation, as the consumer demand is cut down.

Read more: New COVID Cases Ground Air Travel

The new surge in COVID cases has also had adverse effects on air travel, with the airlines and hotels and other such companies seeing their hopes for a return to pre-COVID times dashed by the continuing problems. Delta Air Lines said the company had seen corporate travel rates go back to around 40 percent of pre-pandemic rates, which flew in the face of the predictions that they’d hit around 60 percent of that number this month.

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