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Slower economic growth normally has a negative impact on everything from the stock and bond markets to interest rates and employment. How this ultimately will affect the economy in the months ahead is a question worrying every trader and portfolio manager in the financial markets.

Nearly two years since the first case of COVID-19 was officially detected in Massachusetts, the biggest question hanging over the state's economy remains the continued uncertainty of the global pandemic.

As students returned to classes Monday amid a continued surge in COVID-19 cases, Gov. Charlie Baker kicked off his week with an early morning news conference where he forecast "a challenging period of time."