According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the ongoing distribution of vaccines combined with the latest government stimulus is expected to jumpstart economic activity in the U.S. However, projections for sustainable growth are not equitable among various countries and business sectors. Faster and more effective vaccination deployment across the world is critical. The OECD emphasizes that the key to global recovery is widespread inoculation conducted at a faster rate than variant strains of the virus are mutated.
Not only does the unequal vaccination rate restrict productivity worldwide, but the lack of certainty regarding economic recovery will fuel negative consumer and business confidence. Because the rate of infection caused by new variants is competing with the rate of vaccination rollouts, time will decide if and when economic growth and job creation becomes sustainable.1 The U.S. relies heavily on raw materials and manufacturing in other countries, so the continued spread of the virus worldwide affects our own job growth and economic viability, and will continue to restrict global business and consumer travel.
Clearly, spending is key, and households that have reduced activities in the past year likely have the capacity (and pent-up desire) to venture out and spend, travel, dine out and enjoy entertainment venues. Since we’ve all learned how to (inadvertently) tighten the belt throughout the past year, reworking your budget for increased saving and disciplined spending might interest you if your situation allows it. If you’d like some assistance in assessing your retirement income strategy and how insurance products may fit into that strategy, we’re here to help.
One economist observed that delays in the immunization program mean the difference between a quick recovery and long-term labor market “scarring.” In other words, high unemployment could lead to more defaulted loans, bankruptcies and shuttered businesses. This economist projects that if the vaccinated share of the population hits 92% by August, the U.S. should experience 5.2% growth for the year. If vaccinations are at 68%, we can expect about 3% growth for 2021.2
An interesting dilemma that many employers face is whether to require workers to get vaccinated. Not only do unvaccinated workers put each other and customers at higher risk, but by not reaching herd immunity, every company is likely to suffer revenue losses. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), employers can institute a policy that requires workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19, under the following guidelines:3
- The vaccine must be generally available to the entire employee population.
- Exceptions can be made for individuals who cannot obtain a vaccine due to a personal health or disability reason.
- Employees can be excused for a sincerely held religious belief that prohibits the vaccine.
- Labor union members may object to a mandatory vaccine policy based on provisions in the National Labor Relations Act.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided guidelines to help employers encourage inoculating their workforce voluntarily. Recommendations include hosting on-site vaccination opportunities, mobile vaccination clinics and employer-sponsored temporary vaccination clinics.4