Finance

U.S. output surging amid pandemic due to digitization – Goldman By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A man wearing a mask works on his laptop as the state of Texas prepares to lift its mask mandate and reopen businesses to full capacity during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Houston, Texas, U.S., March 9, 2021. REUTERS/Callagha

(Reuters) – The shutdowns linked to the COVID-19 pandemic have hurt the U.S. economy, but Goldman Sachs (NYSE:) analysts are seeing a redeeming trend – a productivity surge led by a rapid digitization, which is here to stay.

Since the health crisis began, annualized growth in output per hour has risen 3.1%, a big jump from the 1.4% growth recorded in the previous business cycle, the analysts said.

“Stronger productivity growth has been one of the silver linings of the pandemic,” economist Jan Hatzius wrote in a note dated Monday.

“Higher-frequency measures indicate further gains in the middle of the year.”

The gains are more evident in the information technology sector, followed by professional services, product development and retail sector, the note said.

Industries which have been able to carry on with virtual meetings and reduce expenditure on in-person facilities like travel and entertainment have seen improvements despite the partial re-openings, the analysts said.

Rapid vaccinations have opened parts of the economy this year, but economist Hatzius believes the reopening of offices and the face-to-face economy should not be linked to a pause or reversal of the trend as gains from workplace digitization are sustainable.

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