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Key indicators show that the US economy is recovering, but it will never be the same

By Alexis Benveniste, CNN Business

America hit a milestone Friday: 300 million people in the country have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. And as the number of vaccinations continues to rise, so do the signs the nation is getting back to business.

Here’s a list of some indicators that the United States is recovering from the pandemic.

Airplanes are filling up

The airline business is surging, so much so that the Transportation Security Administration has asked some of its office workers to help security officers with a surge of summer travel at the nation’s largest airports. And while airlines still haven’t quite hit their pre-pandemic numbers, eased Covid-19 restrictions point to hope for the future of the industry.

Vacation home sales are booming

People are traveling again, and not just to faraway places. Vacation home sales are up 33% through April over last year, according to a report from the National Association of Realtors. The top 10 vacation counties were concentrated in just a few states, which include Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan and North Carolina.

Lipstick sales are up

Americans are getting glam again after the CDC lifted mask mandates for vaccinated people both indoors and out. Now that they can show the bottom half of their faces to the world again, lipstick sales have been booming. Walmart, the nation’s biggest retailer, told CNN Business that lipstick is its top performer across all segments of cosmetics, and was a standout item in its latest quarter ending April 30.

People are buying dresses again

Dresses were pushed to the back of closets during the pandemic as people adapted to work-from-home wardrobes of sweatpants and leggings. Zoom-filled days and social distancing protocol meant weekend plans and after-work drinks were no longer in the cards. But now that guidelines have been lifted for vaccinated people, chains like H&M, Anthropologie and Macy’s say they are seeing increased demand for dresses and are introducing new styles to meet pent-up demand.

Stores dropping mask mandates

When the CDC announced on May 13 that fully vaccinated people don’t have to wear masks or practice social distancing both indoors or outdoors, a long list of stores and companies dropped their mask mandates. The list includes Target, CVS, Publix, Starbucks, Home Depot, Costco, Sam’s Club and many more.

Companies want employees in the office

Over the past 15 months, millions of employees in America left their offices and set up makeshift work spaces at home. But now some companies are asking their employees to come back to in-person work. On Wall Street, for example, many big banks — including Morgan Stanley and Bank of America — want their workers back by Labor Day. Some companies are even offering return-to-work programs as a way to help professionals transition back into the workforce after a long break. Returnships, as they are often called, typically run for a few months, offering training, experience and networking opportunities to workers — usually mothers — who’ve been out of the workforce for an extended period of time.

Job openings are skyrocketing

America is hiring like never before. Job openings in the United States soared by nearly one million in April, setting a record for the most openings added in a month and the highest overall number since the Bureau of Labor Statistics started tracking the data in December 2000.

Wedding season is back in action

With more Americans getting vaccinated and so many restrictions lifted, the wedding industry is booming again after a stale 15 months. In fact, in April 2020, marriage rates in the US hit a record low, according to the US Congress Joint Economic Committee. Venues are opening up and vendors are seeing business boom as more couples head to the aisle to say “I do.” Earlier this year, David’s Bridal, one of largest wedding gown sellers in the United States, said it’s anticipating weddings to return with a vengeance this year and into 2022 because of pent-up demand.

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