U.S. Chamber Economic Analysis Underscores Uneven Recovery

Monday, January 11, 2021 - 6:00am

Half of Industries Profiled Doing Better, Half Doing Worse Since the Pandemic Began 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today released a compilation of perspectives on the economic recovery.   

Thirty-seven business leaders, ranging from healthcare to finance and energy to entertainment, shared where their industries are on the K-shaped recovery. Of the 37 responses, 19 (51%) say they are doing slightly or much worse than pre-pandemic, 15 (41%) slightly or much better, and three (8%) the same.

“Ten months after COVID-19 caused an unprecedented disruption in economic activity, some industries have fully recovered while others are in the equivalent of a depression,” said Neil Bradley, Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer, U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “The full reopening of the economy that widespread vaccinations will make possible offers a light at the end of the tunnel, but we will be dealing with the fallout from the pandemic for years to come. As we rally for recovery, it is critical that policymakers pursue pro-growth policies that can help business, families, and communities fully recover.”

These findings will be explored during the Chamber’s annual State of American Business program. Join us on Tuesday, January 12, as thousands of business leaders from across the country and around the world convene to explore the most important challenges and opportunities on the horizon in 2021. Register here

Industries report the following:

  • Airports: At least $23 billion loss expected from March 2020 to March 2021 for the U.S. airport industry.
  • Construction: Although residential and infrastructure construction were strong in 2020, data indicates that construction spending for office, industrial, warehouse and retail buildings was down 29.8% from 2019.
  • Energy: After the initial COVID-19 shock, total U.S. petroleum demand returned to 19.1 million barrels per day and the five-year range by November 2020.  
  • Finance: During the second quarter, credit union deposits grew 15 times faster than they did during the same period one year prior.
  • Food Retail: Consumer spending was up 25% from February to March. Most food retailers (61%) said strong demand had positive impacts on their businesses even if the new dynamics stretched their capabilities like never before.
  • Gaming: The closure of all 989 U.S. casino properties impacted more than one million American gaming and small business employees and caused a total economic loss of $43.5 billion.
  • Hospitality: 63% of hotels have less than half of their typical pre-crisis staff working full-time today.
  • Housing: Projections show up to $70 billion in rental debt by the end of 2020.

Small businesses, which span all industries and regions, report a similar split and K-shaped recovery. According to the most recent MetLife & U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index, 48% of small businesses say their businesses’ health is average or poor and 50% of small businesses say their business is in good overall health. However, 80% or more of small business are concerned about the virus’s impact on America’s economy.

Industry and association leaders contributing to this report include:

  • Airports Council International
  • American Council of Engineering Companies
  • American Gaming Association
  • American Hospital Association/Federation of American Hospitals
  • American Hotel & Lodging Association
  • American Iron and Steel Institute
  • American Land Title Association
  • American Petroleum Institute
  • American Road & Transportation Builders Association
  • American Trucking Associations
  • Associated General Contractors of America
  • Auto Care Association
  • Consumer Brands Association 
  • Council for Responsible Nutrition
  • Direct Selling Association
  • FMI – the Food Industry Association
  • International Council of Shopping Centers
  • International Franchise Association
  • Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association
  • NAIOP, Commercial Real Estate Association
  • National Apartment Association
  • National Association of Chain Drug Stores
  • National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions
  • National Association of Home Builders
  • National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies 
  • National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts
  • National Beer Wholesalers Association
  • National Electrical Contractors Association
  • National Independent Automobile Dealers Association
  • National Retail Federation
  • National Rural Electric Cooperative Association
  • Pharmaceutical Care Management Association
  • Plastics Industry Association
  • Security Industry Association
  • Solar Energy Industries Association
  • Southwest Cable Communications Association
  • Vinyl Institute 

About the U.S. Chamber of Commerce  

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business organization representing companies of all sizes across every sector of the economy. Our members range from the small businesses and local chambers of commerce that line the Main Streets of America to leading industry associations and large corporations. They all share one thing: They count on the U.S. Chamber to be their voice in Washington, across the country, and around the world. For more than 100 years, we have advocated for pro-business policies that help businesses create jobs and grow our economy.