Which sectors are the big drivers of economic output? As we've seen in the past, some of the highest profile industries (movie theaters, concerts, professional sports) are actually not all that important to total economic output.
First, by "output" we mean Gross Output, the statistic which takes into account not just GDP (which focuses on the last phase or two of the economic process) but also adds in all the stages before.
When we break that more inclusive number down into various sectors, we can get a rough idea just which sectors are the heavy hitters and which sectors are not.
Finance is a biggie. So is manufacturing and professional business services.
In a separate analysis we've shown how rapidly manufacturing is rebounding, but what about the other big ticket items in the list?
Turns out that they are among those whose employees are most able to work from home, and generally among those who have already suffered lower rates of lay-offs than the rest. For example, roughly 80% of finance and information employees can work from home. Roughly 70% of professional services employees can as well.
We're clearly not out of the woods yet, but if we can focus on the big picture, i.e. not lose the forest for the trees, we can see the case for a substantial share of macro-economic recovery with dark patches at the edges and not the other way around.
U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, average annualized global output 2016 – 2019 for the U.S.
“Why Working From Home Shouldn't Be Taken For Granted,” July 2020, Statista