northeastern university seal

Listen to the Marketplace podcast episode here.


With the school year beginning and the U.S. experiencing an uptick COVID-19 cases, parents in the labor force face some potential challenges in the fall.

Just as businesses began re-opening this summer and economists felt optimistic about an economic recovery, COVID-19 cases began surging as the highly contagious delta variant became the dominant strain in the U.S.

“There’s no question that vaccine hesitancy, and the low vaccination rate that we have so far across the U.S., is making it difficult to forge ahead with this economic recovery,” said Alicia Sasser Modestino, an associate professor of public policy and urban affairs and economics at Northeastern University.

About half of the U.S. has been fully vaccinated, while 59% of people have received at least one dose.

Modestino said there was a lot of optimism about reopening the economy when vaccines first became available.

“But we’re at the point now if we don’t start moving the dial more in terms of increasing vaccinations, that we’re risking shutdowns because of the delta variant,” she said.

Consumer sentiment plummeted in early August due to the rise of the delta, and surveys show that people are more hesitant to travel and socialize now.