After suffering the steepest and fastest recession in history amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. economy began to recover in May and June at a more robust pace than most analysts expected.
Economists largely credit trillions of dollars in federal aid that kept consumers spending, including $1,200 stimulus checks, generous unemployment benefits, and forgivable federal loans to small businesses that retained or rehired employees.
But clawing back the rest of the lost ground is likely to be a tougher slog. The federal programs are expiring unless Congress quickly votes to extend them in some form. Some companies, particularly in travel and retail, are laying off workers permanently. And amid spikes in coronavirus cases across much of the country, many states are at least partly shutting down businesses that had reopened.
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