GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Three years ago, COVID-19 caused many states to implement shutdown orders and countries to ban international travel. While many things have evolved with the virus over the last few years, the United States economy is still on the rebound.

“Three years ago, the governor said close businesses, so of course we adhered to it and closed our business,” said Pam Carraway, owner of Votre Boutique in Greenville.

“Initially we went into a deep recession. Fortunately, it didn’t last very long,” said Dr. Michael Walden, a Reynolds distinguished professor emeritus at NC State. “I think the small business sector was the one that was most devastated.”

Carraway said that was the case for her shop in Uptown Greenville.

“Our sales for 2020 were half, took a beating,” she said. “We cut back to try to thrive, maintain and sustain and thank goodness we did.”

Now three years later, things are a little more back to normal, and Carraway encourages people to shop locally.

“For 2022, September was our most incredible month for business, and we’ve been open over six years,” Carraway said. “That was great to see and it was encouraging. Now it is balanced off to be consistent sales.”

Walden said the economy is now evolving with the change of times.

“The pandemic has permanently changed the face of the economy,” he said. “Right now we are in a much better place, the economy is actually bigger pre-pandemic. We actually see worker levels close to what they were pre-pandemic.”

But, Walden said there are still some challenges.

“We’re dealing with much higher levels of inflation than we were pre-pandemic and that has caused the federal reserve to shift policies,” he said. “The concern is will that ultimately lead to a recession? I think that’s possible, but I think the good news is if we do have a recession it will be somewhat short and rather mild.”

Walden said before the pandemic, prices of goods were going up by 1.5% every year, but now the latest report shows that’s at 6%.