People are capable of incredible feats of wealth and productivity but, like every other creature on Earth, we are subject to the forces of nature. Some of those forces bring about great abundance of prosperity and joy while others only spell destruction and difficulty. The worldwide pandemic of COVID-19 fits in the latter category. Such a disease affects many facets of individual people and institutions built by society. COVID-19 is particular even in its effects on individuals as some never have any symptoms, and thus suffer very little from the virus itself, while others suffer greatly and others yet, die. It is difficult to measure the total impact of this historic event but one such way is through economics. By looking at the different sectors of the economy in the United States before and after the pandemic, we might be able to learn in what ways the pandemic has affected society and implications for the future.
The overall economy of the United States is composed of many sectors. Government, entertainment, and technology are some major sectors that have been affected by the pandemic. While the pandemic has curtailed some of these sectors, others have not been so negatively affected by it, and others yet, have benefitted from it. Overall, the pandemic has hurt economic growth in the United States. One such measurement of the economy is the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). GDP is the summation of all the goods and services a country produces in a given year so it’s like a snapshot of the economy as a whole. By the end of 2019, the US GDP stood at $21.433 trillion. One year later at the end of 2020, after the initial impact of COVID-19 in March of that year, the US GDP fell to $20.937 trillion. This 3% decline in GDP signals a recession and is mostly the result of many people losing their jobs. For some, they got too sick to work, and even worse, others died from the disease, never to return to work. On top of this, government restrictions on conducting business in the name of public health resulted in people losing their jobs.
The sector that has been the most negatively impacted by the pandemic is entertainment. Cities that rely on tourism as a large portion of their local economy have lost more than anyone. Las Vegas and Orlando are two examples. Las Vegas’ unemployment rate jumped from 3.6% to 11.5% and Orlando went from 2.7% to 7.7%. Other cities that have a greater focus on technology like Seattle and San Francisco managed to avoid such losses and actually gained as a result of companies and individuals relying more on technology to get things done. So there has been some economic benefit as a result of the pandemic. Government has been a mixed bag of results. While federal government jobs in Washington D.C. grew by 2% by the end of 2020, state and local governments across the country have lost over a million jobs. Even within the same sector of the economy, the pandemic has both bolstered and weakened growth.
The road to economic recovery for the United States is paved by creating opportunities from the situation. As mentioned earlier, many governments, companies, and individuals are moving towards digital media to get things done. The state of Florida made many changes to the services they provide so that the population could access digitally what could previously only been accessed in person. The main idea here is creating new infrastructure that creates new opportunities as well as address the needs and concerns of public health given the pandemic. The economic landscape is forever changed with COVID-19 but even in the face of a global pandemic, there are ways to make a brighter future. Those that want to study in the STEM fields are in a prime position to take advantage of this new economic landscape. Computer literacy in the ever more digitally reliant society will be the key to success and what better place to start than with NSTEM! Secure your future and start a chapter at your school today!
Written By: Alexander Jones
October 13, 2021