Before the COVID-19 crisis began, the United States enjoyed the longest period of economic growth in its history, with an annual growth rate of 2.3% in 2019. This growth was reflected in low unemployment and inflation rates and the solidity of trust.
The arrival of COVID-19 has had a strong impact on the nation, although it has not affected businesses for every city or state. New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut account for almost half of the nation’s deaths. In general, the number of infections and hospitalizations is decreasing, but new hotspots are emerging daily or weekly.
Most states have already defined guidelines to follow for the reopening of the economy. The guidelines vary from a careful de-escalation in phases to a total return to normal. It is important to note that the United States is highly decentralized and has four government levels: federal, state, county, and city council. Because of this government breakdown, it is not surprising to see that two neighboring cities have different rules.
New York and New Jersey have been hit hard with the effects of COVID-19, and there are significant delays for all transportation. In other areas, such as the city of Houston (the largest port in the US), it seems that all transportation is operating as normally as possible. These variants are directly due to how the government in those cities and states are handling the issues created by COVID-19.
The government has taken measures at three levels: for individuals, SMEs, and large companies. Government aid has been coming from the federal level when it has come. Further aid is expected going forward. However, this aid’s amount and availability are hotly debated by the federal government and slow to roll out to those who need it.
The federal government has already distributed financial aid to each person making under a certain amount; for example, $3,400 for a family with two children. It also has extended unemployment benefits for an additional 13 weeks and adds another $600 per week to state benefits, which in many cases are scarce. The second wave of checks has gone out along with an extension of unemployment benefits. There are more funds expected within a few months.
Businesses with fewer than 500 employees are eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a loan designed to pay wages for two months. If the money received is used for that purpose, the loan is forgiven, and it will not need to be repaid. This program has generated a lot of controversies because it has become known that large companies have applied for loans and have been granted them even though many large companies have easily survived.
For large companies
The federal government grants billions of dollars of bailouts to selected industries to keep jobs and avoid bankruptcies: airlines, hospitals (which are private in the US), the automotive and aerospace sectors, tourism, etc.
All of these grants are for US companies, regardless of whether they are part of a foreign entity or not. Also, there are additional local measures and aid for all American companies in each state and even in large cities.
It is still early to understand all the implications of COVID-19 at the macroeconomic level. GDP will decline, the record economic growth the United States has enjoyed in recent years is over, and unemployment has exploded. Before the virus, the United States’ unemployment rate was 3.5%, the lowest in 50 years.
However, it is important to note that most of the lost jobs are in the service industries such as restaurants, hotels, shops, etc. As the economy slowly reopens, these jobs are expected to return. When? No one knows, but the US has often shown its ability to bounce back quickly.
Business Opportunities in the United States
The United States will continue to be a very large and stable market for companies around the world. We do not expect this to change. As we adapt to the challenges posed by COVID-19, new ideas and new solutions are needed in the way we interact, shop, eat and travel, so business opportunities in the United States are in these sectors. The medical/health sector must also adapt, and new technologies in telemedicine, for example, are very interesting.
We will likely see the effects of Covid-19 for years to come in the way we work and go to school. Will people who can work from home prefer to continue like this instead of going to a crowded office and wasting time in traffic? Will children continue to go to traditional schools, or will we see the emergence of a new system that is more flexible? It will be interesting to follow these trends in the coming months and years to identify business opportunities.
The way we are doing business has already changed completely. Since we cannot meet in person, businesses have successfully used technology to continue to conduct business remotely. This will continue for the foreseeable future. Of course, this is not possible in all situations, so travel and personal meetings will eventually resume. We are used to working remotely in the US and will likely carry this way of doing business for years to come.About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual bookkeeping, providing service to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks™️ file, critical financial documents, and back-office tools in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of certified US-based accounting professionals provide bookkeeping, record storage, performance reporting, and controller services including training, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, process and controls advisement, and bill-pay. With flat-rate service plans, Complete Controller is the most cost-effective expert accounting solution for business, family-office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.