Economic professors hope economy will return once COVID-19 vaccine is widely distributed

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — As the pandemic continues, just 39% of Americans surveyed by Bankrate said they could comfortably cover an unexpected expense of $1,000.

Experts say they’re hopeful things will change for the better once the COVID-19 vaccine is widely distributed.

“If we get the virus under control fairly quickly I think things can return to normal fairly quickly,” said David Mitchell the director of Bureau of Economic Research at Missouri State University.
“And by that I mean people going out to eat at restaurants, traveling more.”

Mitchell says while some industries are doing well right now with the option of working from home it’s not the case for everyone.

“If the virus continues to become a problem then you’re going to continue to see this divergence where people who can not do work from home are going to continue to do poorly,” Mitchell said.

He says this is especially true as we see more restaurants, theatres and mom and pop shops closing their doors for good.

And while the pandemic is putting a financial strain on people, Mitchell says this is an on-going problem.

“Basically the high cost of living, budgeting, some things are a whole lot more expensive today than they were 20 to 30 years ago,” Mitchell said.

Business and economics professor at OTC, Dianna Parker, says with uncertainty consumers tend to save more money.

“There is a lot of inequality in that however it’s hard to save money if you spend everything you earn on necessities so a lot of the savings came from higher-income households,” Parker said.

Parker says the GDP is expected to grow about 3.8 percent this year.

That same survey also revealed that 44 percent say they expect their finances to improve this year, compared to 14% who expect it’ll get worse.

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