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February 8, 2016

Chapter One: How Services Run the World

Welcome to “Services: Your New Best Friend”, a new blog where I’ll be discussing services, services trade, and how much we use services without even realizing it. 

When I started my job I knew almost nothing about trade. I had just finished graduate school, and I was so excited to have a position that incorporated international relations into my work on a regular basis.

As an international trade association, the Coalition of Services Industries (CSI) advocates and educates on behalf its membership, which includes international services companies based in the United States.

In the news you always hear how agricultural and manufacturing production affects the United States (and global) market. But here’s a secret: the services sector dominates the U.S. economy. It’s the new sexy. Using a map on your smart phone? Services. Skyping with your old college roommate? Services. Selling and buying everything and anything online? Services.

The private services sector employs 80% of us in the United States, and contributes to over 75% of our gross domestic product (GDP)—basically 75% of everything we produce as a nation. To break it down, the services sector includes everything I depend upon as a millennial (and probably everything you depend on, too), consisting of:

  • Audio/visual: TV? Rom-coms? Yes, please.
  • Banking: You have to keep all that hard-earned money somewhere.
  • Insurance: It’s vital for owning a car, taking care of your health, or helping family members after a death.
  • Information technology (IT): These two words basically run the world today. IT means developing and maintaining computer systems and software to process, manipulate, and distribute data…among roughly one million other things. Any type of business you interact with today uses computer systems and software to give you the best possible product and service they can provide.
  • E-commerce: I love buying things online with my credit card (another service by the way); hello convenience.
  • Energy: Yes, I said it. Energy. Oil, gas, and perhaps even more intriguing: the energy of the future, which includes solar and wind, among others.
  • Express delivery: Don’t you love seeing that package at your door in two days or less?
  • Retail: aka shopping aka retail therapy is real.
  • Social media/advertising: Please raise your hand if you don’t religiously check Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat….all the time. All. The. Time. Oh…no hands? That’s what I thought.
  • Telecommunications: Texting, sending emojis, facetiming and calling; the list can get very long.

Services is the new sexy because it is so innovative, exciting, and complex. The sectors I mentioned above have combined, collaborated, and transformed so that there are newly created services all the time. Remember when getting a credit card was super exciting? Now we don’t even NEED a physical credit card to pay for things, because app developers know we (as consumers) love efficiency. That’s what I mean. Services embodies the creativity that we have to offer to enhance our quality of life…here and elsewhere in the world. To me, that’s a big deal.

I hope this introduction into services makes you want to come back and read more. Follow me as I delve into the services sector and explore all the different types of innovative companies that I have interacted with over the past three years. Learn how services and trade are vital for our economy and our future. Most importantly, come back to learn how all the things I have mentioned above connect to YOU.

Until next time…