For 40 years now, central bankers from around the globe have gathered at Jackson Hole, Wyoming in August. Their objective: discuss the most pressing economic issues facing the world.

It’s often a venue where the foundation is laid for significant changes in monetary policy, so investors will have a keen eye on Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell when he delivers his speech this Friday.

Powell is expected to comment on stimulus programs … and when they might end. That could have major repercussions for the stock market, which I discussed with Ted and Angela in this week’s Your Money Matters.

But when Powell delivers his speech this Friday, he won’t be on-site out West. Instead, he’ll speak from a setting that has become all too familiar for many office workers.

His home office!

Three days ago, the symposium’s organizers deemed it too risky to meet in person as COVID’s delta variant spreads.

Just as the Fed thought in-person meetings would be back by now, so too had many companies planned their return to the office this fall. Those plans are being put on hold now, and in many cases delayed until next year.

But the truth is: Traditional office work may never see a return to normal. Here’s why…

Too Much of a Good Thing

As it turns out, both employers and employees have emerged from the first 12 months of the pandemic with a positive view on remote work. In fact, a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey found that 83% of companies viewed it as a success.

They have technology to thank for that.

No matter your love/hate relationship with Zoom, virtual meetings and a host of other cloud-based apps have all made remote work possible.

And it’s a trend that’s here to stay. Consider this: One leading consultancy found that 87% of companies are planning a permanent shift to a hybrid model that will include on-site and remote work.

But those plans will require huge investments in cloud computing to enable a hybrid workforce. Spending on cloud services is expected to jump to $482 billion next year, which is a 54% increase from last year!

public cloud services worldwide chart

(Click here to view larger image.)

That demand is also putting a strain on critical resources needed to deliver the technology to support the new model of work. In turn, that’s creating a massive opportunity for a certain type of infrastructure.

How to Play the Booming Digital Economy

You’ve certainly heard a lot about infrastructure these past few months, but it’s not just roads and bridges that need an upgrade.

The digital infrastructure that will underpin the hybrid workforce is in desperate need of investment as well. That includes things such as data centers, fiber optic networks and towers that transmit data across the globe.

That’s why it’s projected that $200 billion will be spent on data centers alone this year. And you can see below that digital is quickly growing as a proportion of total infrastructure spending.

infrastructure investment by type chart

(Click here to view larger image.)

One way to tap into this spending boom is with the Pacer Benchmark Data & Infrastructure Real Estate ETF (NYSE: SRVR). It holds companies that supply the hard assets to enable our growing digital economy.

Best regards,

Clint Lee
Research Analyst, The Bauman Letter