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America’s economy is closer than ever to ‘back to normal.’ But we’ve still got a long way to go

CNN Business’ Back-to-Normal Index, developed in partnership with Moody’s Analytics last year, shows the US economy is 90% of the way back to where it was before the pandemic began over a year ago.

The index, which is comprised of 37 national and seven state-level indicators, had bottomed out at around 57% in April 2020.

But despite the immense improvement, getting that last 10% back is going to be hard. The vaccination effort is ongoing and consumers are once again spending money on dining and travel — yet the nation remains millions of jobs short of pre-pandemic levels. Meanwhile many workers continue to feel hesitant about returning to in-person work, and the childcare riddle is still unsolved in many areas where schools and day cares aren’t yet operating at full capacity.

Here’s what needs to happen to get the country 100% back to the pre-pandemic economy.

Gaps in the labor market

The labor market is in an awkward phase of the recovery. The nation…

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