With the U.S. economy percolating for the past year, I see the country entering into a period of unprecedented growth come fall and a reboot of the Roarin’ 20s – Decade 2021 style!
It is a year ago to the day when Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of WHO, declared COVID-19 a pandemic and said at a briefing in Geneva the agency is “deeply concerned by the alarming levels of spread and severity” of the outbreak and expressed grave concern about “the alarming levels of inaction.”
Today there appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel. The U.S. has three viable vaccines at its disposal and some semblance of a national plan to administer them in a coordinated and equitable way. This is punctuated by the Biden administration being on track to easily meet its goal of delivering 100M coronavirus shots into American’s arms in its first 100 days in office.
Indeed, the future is looking brighter every day.
Of course, we’re not out of the woods, yet. Because people are exercising their right not to wear masks across the country as state governor’s begin to lift mask mandates, herd immunity will likely progress in fits and starts throughout the summer. Similarly, the services sector recession that began last year as a result of the virus is likely to continue for a while because a high percentage of office workers (who keep those service businesses in business) will choose to continue to work remotely for of the convenience and time-savings that remote work offers.
That said, a quick look at what New Zealand is doing as it advances back to normalcy (as a result of its government’s pandemic management approach effectively stamping out the virus in the country), indicates that we, too, will be dancing in the streets and celebrating the vanquishing of this horrific virus sometime in the not too distant future.
What Might We Expect?
Its surging economy, mass consumerism, and the Harlem Renaissance, which redefined arts and culture in the United States, often characterize the original Roarin’ 20s (i.e., the decade of the 1920s). As we come out of the Pandemic shutdown, I believe that we can expect to experience much of the same.
Here’s what I see:
- An economic comeback – Two major stimulus packages coupled with the regularization of consumer behavior following mass vaccination will drive overall GDP recovery. In fact, Morningstar is projecting real U.S. GDP growth of 5.3% in 2021 and 4% in 2022 – surpassing its pre-COVID expectations.
- Unleashing of pent-up consumerism driven by need to re-connect – As referenced in the previous point, Americans are eager to spend and that spending will likely be aimed at socializing, travel and celebration. This will translate into spending far and wide driving the recovery of the service sector (the sector that was hit the hardest last year).
- Arts recovery – The crisis inspired all kinds of new ways to create, deliver and experience the arts. With the genie now clearly out-of-the-bottle, we can expect that virtual experiences, livestreaming, and the like, will remain part of the recovery on a go-forward basis.
- Community building – Along with the above, a new focus on revitalizing a sense of community will also be part of the post-pandemic agenda at the national, state and local level. Americans are simply demanding that we get better at forging a fairer and more inclusive way of life.
- Renewed focus on what’s important – One of the major outcomes from what we experienced last year is the birth of a renewed focus on what is important. Relationship renewal among family and friends will be a theme as will a focus on restoring mental health and well being.
As suggested, all of these points add up to a redux of the Roarin’ 20s beginning in later this year.
As we close this piece, here’s some advice: just hang in there! Stick to the program. The faster we get to getting back to normal, both personally and as business leaders, the faster we enter this new epoch as outlined above, one where we all can have some long-awaited fun and continue to prosper.
Written by James Kerr. Have you read?