Home sales are booming. Stocks are setting record highs. Industrial production is clambering out of the ditch it fell into early this year.
And yet the U.S. economy is nowhere close to regaining the health it achieved, with low unemployment, free-spending consumers and booming travel, before the coronavirus paralyzed the country in March. Not while the viral outbreak still rages and Congress remains deadlocked over providing more relief to tens of millions of people thrown out of work and to state and local governments whose revenue has withered.
Every week, roughly 1 million new Americans are applying for unemployment benefits — a depth of job insecurity not seen in any single week during the depths of the 2007-2009 Great Recession.