The real gross domestic product rose above its pre-pandemic peak for the first time in the second quarter of 2021, signaling in at least one measure that the economy has “recovered.” In the latest COVID-19 Update webinar, Ali Wolf, chief economist at Zonda, attributes this swift recovery to the financial support provided by Congress and the Federal Reserve. However, other measures still fall short of where they stood before March 2020.

For instance, total nonfarm payrolls are steadily climbing, but still short by 5.7 million workers. While Wolf anticipates this number will continue to rise, she notes economic risks that may slow growth in the coming months—particularly the delta variant, which has surfaced as a risk to service-oriented industries just recovering.

While residential construction has gained about 58,500 workers since February 2020, the industry continues to face a shortage of workers. Still, housing continues to be the “standout star” in the current economic landscape.

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