There's already been a couple of threads on the 2021 report with insightful comments, but I'm vain enough to want to start my own topic with some additional thoughts....
As others on the other thread noted, it's useful to compare the 2021 numbers not only to 2020 but also 2019 (the last non-pandemic report).
There are some really troubling (if you're a WT headquarters guy) news in the latest report.
1) Baptisms plummet
2019 - 303,866
2020 - 241,994
2021 - 171,393
Baptisms dropped 20% in 2020, and 30% more in 2021. The total drop from 2019 to 2021 is an amazing 44%.
One could argue that without in-person assemblies and conventions you'd expect baptisms to drop. BUT....if someone really wants to get baptized, JWs will find a way. JW social media is blanketed with video after video of JWs getting baptized in swimming pools, lakes, rivers, even laundry tubs & 55-gallon drums.
The count of JWs is based on "publishers", not "baptized people", and you can be an "unbaptized publisher", BUT....
The number of "unbaptized publishers" in any congregation is typically very small, usually less than 10% of the total. And probably 90% of the "unbaptized publishers" in a congregation are kids of baptized JWs not yet old enough to get dunked.
The decreasing count of new baptisms points toward major declines in future publisher counts, especially as the COVID death toll adds to the usual JW attrition.
2) Field service hours plummet
2019 - 2,088,560,437
2020 - 1,669,901,531
2021 - 1.423.039,931
Field service hours dropped 20% in 2020 compared to 2019, and another 15% in 2021 vs. 2020. The 2 year drop is 32%.
Without actual door to door or public witnessing, you'd expect the number to decrease, BUT....
On the other hand, it has literally never been easier to "get your time in". Just sit at home in your bathrobe making phone calls or writing letters. If you have Zoom, join in with your friends in their bathrobes, writing letters. With all the "easy time" that is possible now, how is there a 32% drop?
If a JW were really "zealous", he'd be writing, phoning, informal witnessing, etc. at every opportunity. Theoretically , we're in the "last days of the last days" - hardly time to reduce your activity by one-third.
3) Average Bible Studies plummet
2019 - 9,618,182
2020 - 7,705,765
2021 - 5,908,167
That's a 26% drop in 2020 vs, 2019, and an additional 23% drop in 2021 vs. 2020. The 2-year total drop is 39%.
This is arguably the most devastating number of all. Without Bible studies, no one progresses from "Bible student" to "unbaptized publisher" to "Baptized JW". The "pipeline" is drying up.
It's even more horrific when you consider that virtually all JW parents with kids under the age of 12 are counting the "family study" on their reports. In no way, shape, or form does a pandemic affect the ability of JW parents to study with their own kids in their own home - so that number is unchanged. So, the drop in [Bible studies other than with your own kids] is even more dramatic - undoubtedly more than a 50% drop in 2 years.
The WT organization is reeling. The overall numbers are still pretty OK for now, but that's mainly momentum. The numbers will drop precipitously in years to come. They have been utterly blindsided by the pandemic (so much for Jehovah "telling his prophets in advance") and have no clue how to right the severely listing ship.