Economy will return to pre-pandemic level this year, CBO predicts

The economy will bounce back over the next several months, even without more stimulus aid from Congress, but employment levels are unlikely to fully recover until 2024, the Congressional Budget Office forecast Monday.

Much of the economic recovery hinges on the pace of vaccinations, the effectiveness of fiscal and monetary policies to curb the pandemic, and the evolution of the coronavirus as new strains turn up across the U.S., the independent budget office said in its latest economic projections.

The economy is expected to grow “rapidly” at 4.6 percent this year, continuing to expand over the next decade. The unemployment rate will drop from 6.8 percent in 2020 to 5.3 percent this year, with the number of employed people returning to pre-pandemic levels by 2024, CBO predicted.