With nearly half of Americans having received at least one vaccine dose as of late May, the nation’s economy has opened up with analysts predicting a swift recovery. Following solid economic growth in Q1/2021 associated with the rapid deployment of a $1.9 trillion fiscal support package, The Conference Board predicts U.S. Real GDP growth will rise to 8.6 percent (annualized rate) in Q2 and 6.4 percent (year-over-year) in 2021.
Despite this rapid growth, changes in the economy abound as we enter what has been called the “new normal,” and we cover many of those changes in this issue. For example, the remote working trend during the pandemic has taken hold and our cover story, “Where’s the Talent,” explains how — unlike in past expansions — growth may now spread across more communities as people have the freedom to work from their preferred locations. A recent study from Cushman & Wakefield explains how employers are “Adapting to a New Workplace Ecosystem.” There is no single answer to how office space in an agile world can best support productivity, innovation, and growth.
In order to “Mitigate the Risks of Supply Chain Disruption,” as evidenced during the COVID-19 pandemic, companies are “Shoring Up Operations for Growth,” with many moving operations closer to the U.S. The current shortage of semiconductors points to the necessity of bringing some of this manufacturing back home (“U.S. Semiconductor Industry Faces Crises, Opportunities.”)
But it’s not just operations that will differ in the “new normal,” but how we think about employees in the workforce. The social unrest experienced during the pandemic has resulted in “A Renewed Focus on Workforce Diversity.” Now, as companies make their location decisions, diversity and inclusion issues are being included among the site selection factors. Relatedly, the pandemic has impacted the need for leaders with a sense of empathy. Ericsson Digital Services’ VP of Business Operations Dan Kerber explains how a truly empathetic leader understands what employees are going through on an emotional level.
All of these issues and more are discussed in this issue’s features as we navigate our new and, we hope, improved economic landscape.