The coronavirus pandemic has had a strong but unpredictable impact on the economy. Nearly two years into COVID-19, we are seeing the effects of supply chain issues, higher-than-usual inflation, and a significantly altered workforce that has created labor shortages in many industries.
It is therefore interesting that a recent article from Colombia details a counter-intuitive repercussion of the pandemic: a boom in business licensing. Battle Ground, for example, issued 137 new business licenses in 2021.
While economic uncertainty would seem like a risky time to start a business, entrepreneurs are taking the plunge. As the World Economic Forum reported of the US economy: “Applications for new businesses plunged in the early months of the pandemic-induced recession, but rebounded in a short time. In July 2020, applications reached historic highs.
It continued. The US economy grew at an annualized rate of over 6% in the first half of 2021, before slowing under the weight of the delta variant of COVID-19.
“The strength in economic output was, in part, the result of the enormous legislative response to both the pandemic and the human hardships it has caused,” the Brookings Institute reported in September. “Successive rounds of substantial fiscal support have boosted economic activity since March 2020 and are expected to continue to do so through 2023.”
Overall, the economic future does not look as bright as in the United States. The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday: “The World Economic Forum’s annual risk report showed a significant increase in pessimism about the global outlook. … Many respondents expected the next three years to be characterized by constant volatility and surprises. … The pandemic has also eroded social cohesion in many countries, worsened mental health and widened the gap between rich and poor countries.
The report also indicates that the inability to effectively combat climate change remains the main economic concern in the medium and long term.
Economic projections are difficult during the best times. They are more difficult in times of unprecedented upheaval. But the number of startups is an encouraging sign that says as much about the American psyche as it does about the American economy.
Analyzes show that a record number of Americans quit their jobs last year, and for a variety of reasons. Government assistance has made it more bearable for many to be unemployed for an extended period. The pandemic has reordered personal priorities, causing many to question whether their work was worth it. And many workers have decided that the time has come to pursue that dream job.
“Part of this ‘big quit’ was that Americans decided they didn’t want to work for anyone — they wanted to work for themselves,” Kenan Fikri of the economic innovation group told CBS.
This entrepreneurial spirit has long been the backbone of the American economy. It is the foundation of capitalism and it has built the greatest economy in the world.
It is also the backbone of Washington’s economy, despite the presence of major global corporations such as Amazon, Boeing and Microsoft. More than 600,000 small businesses in Washington employ about 1.4 million people, more than half of the state’s private sector workforce.
The strength of these businesses – and their impact – can be seen every day in Clark County.