Experts say economic recovery promising with increased vaccination rate

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Economists say long lines at vaccination sites mean more lines at restaurants and businesses.

“Every time we see increases in vaccinations, we’re going to see improvements in the economy,” said Dr. John Gnuschke, University of Memphis professor of economics.

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In Shelby County, the number of active COVID-19 cases is hovering around 91,000 but this week, the number of people who are fully vaccinated surpassed that number by more than 20,000.

Dr. Gnuschke said that’s the shift we need to see if we want to get back to normal.

“This is a game. It’s a game against the virus we can either win or lose it, and if we win it we’re going to win it with vaccinations,” said Dr. Gnuschke.

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He said another good sign is lower unemployment.

The state reports unemployment rates are less than 5 percent in 39 of the state’s 95 counties and under 10 percent in the other counties. Shelby County is just under 7 percent.

But Gnuschke said this progress could be wiped away if a fourth surge hits the community.

“As long as the virus becomes the central issue, our economy simply isn’t going to recover,” he said.

If vaccinations continue at this rate, Dr. Gnuschke said we could see significant recovery by this fall.