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The U.S. economy is getting better, but at a slow rate.

A local economist said there is still a way to go before we’re back to pre-pandemic levels.

Kenneth Kriz, an economist professor at the University of Illinois Springfield, said smaller cities and towns tend to have lower unemployment rates

“In terms of where we are at in the economic cycle, we’ve recovered quite a bit of the way from the bottom of the cycle but we’re not all the way back.”

Kriz said even though it's better off than the beginning of the pandemic, the nation has a lot of catching up to do when it comes to employment.

“I don’t think we’re in the last act. We’re certainly not in the first and worst act, but we’re somewhere in between. It’s going to take a while to fully catch up.”

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on Oct. 13, 2021.

Watch the story online.