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3 Ways Big Data Can Guide Economic Recovery

Person looking at printed data, charts, and graphs and holding a smartphone displaying the same type of data

The COVID-19 pandemic has unleashed immense havoc on the world economy. While it might take years to tally up all of the damage caused by the virus, its impact was great enough to cause fears of global recession and required swift action on behalf of major governments to counteract it.

This process is ongoing but will achieve the greatest levels of success if it’s aided by big data and emerging technologies. This article will discuss some of the ways these innovations can lead to economic recovery in the United States while giving some glimpses at what those processes might look like once fully realized.

Stemming the Tide of COVID

First and foremost, recovery from COVID rests on negating the spread of the virus. With the virus controlled, the economy will have breathing room to flourish, and the government, along with other organizations, can focus more resources on economic advancement.

Big data analytics already play a role in guiding certain healthcare outcomes and helping health workers make decisions. This decision-making power has the potential to help control the coronavirus in turn.

For instance, data analytics play a big part in modeling, tracking, and predicting the spread of COVID infections. This can help support public health initiatives by forecasting the areas that will need the most resources to fight back the disease.

The government can then ensure these areas have what they need to deal with COVID or implement policies to help dampen the projected impacts COVID might have caused.

What’s more, accurate knowledge surrounding the status of the pandemic and probable trends in transmission can help quell the panic and ease public fears surrounding the virus.

Data analytics can help further enhance methods for detecting the virus, allowing healthcare workers to catch infections quickly and mitigate their severity, and might even be useful for predicting how seriously an individual may be affected by COVID.

Perhaps the most significant role of data in eliminating the spread of COVID, however, is the fast-tracking of medicines that can inoculate individuals against and treat coronavirus.

Helping Businesses and Government Services Adapt

Coronavirus crippled many businesses’ status quo — largely irrespective of a specific industry. Across fields, for instance, the pandemic put a significant dent in marketing expenditures, as businesses braced for retracting sales. Meanwhile, supply chains across the board were rocked, leaving some businesses scrambling for workarounds for getting goods transported.

Thankfully, in many scenarios like these, technology has answers for bouncing back from the brink. In the case of supply chains and meeting product demands, for instance, big data can offer businesses the predictive power necessary to anticipate what consumers in their areas will want.

Those businesses, in turn, can stage stock to minimize shortages and work with suppliers well in advance to ensure they can get what they need, even if there are delays.

Other examples of technology potentially helping businesses and government alike adapt to the constraints foisted onto them by the pandemic include:

  • Aiding manufacturers in determining necessary production levels to meet anticipated demands in regions across the country.
  • Anticipating business manpower needs so that organizations can cut back or increase their current workforce through staff leasing and other means.
  • Applying predictive analytics to utilities and infrastructure to forecast demands and rapidly adapt technologies to satisfy those demands.
  • Helping guide positive shifts in company culture that will improve resilience during future challenges and help teams work together more closely.
  • Building models on how COVID impacted business processes to create better response protocol in the face of future disruptions.

This is just scratching the surface, but the main takeaway here is that big data holds a good deal of predictive power, which businesses can then harness to anticipate events and make the best decisions regarding recovery and economic growth.

Tracking Economic Recovery and Consumer Sentiment

It’s difficult to get where you’re going if you don’t know where you are. This wisdom applies to economic recovery as well, and big data provides the means to track how the economy is doing and inform future recovery actions.

Speaking broadly, data shows that lockdowns clamped down on economic prosperity, and recovery from this dip has been taking place at two speeds.

Lifting lockdowns, it seems, prompts a short period of rapid recovery for some businesses. This applies only to specific sectors, however, as travel-related industries like tourism will take much longer to reach their pre-COVID levels if they’re even capable of doing so.

What’s more, big data allows the government and businesses to get a gauge of how consumers feel. For example, how concerned the general public is about their short-term finances, long-term finances, or how open they might be to resuming normal activities after the lockdowns are lifted. These types of insights can help with planning efforts and ensure that recovery takes place at a pace that coincides with public sentiment.

Wrapping Up

COVID has had a significant impact on the economy, but possible solutions, as has been shown in other global crises, may lie in the power of big data. By helping curtail coronavirus infections, allowing businesses to adapt to changes, and keeping track of recovery efforts, analytics can help the government and businesses chart a course back from the low points of the pandemic.

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Charlie Fletcher is a freelance writer from the lovely “city of trees”- Boise, Idaho. Her love of writing pairs with her passion for social activism and search for the truth. You can find more of her writing on