Stevenson discusses labor market recovery

November 17, 2021

Betsy Stevenson offered insights on the labor market and the road to post-pandemic recovery. 

Talking about cash assistance programs during the pandemic with Slate, Stevenson said, “We made people better off by giving them money, and I know there’s a lot of people who are worried that that’s why people aren’t going back to work. But I think we empowered them to not only negotiate better jobs, but to change occupations and change industries in a way where they’re going to be better utilized and that they’re going to come out ahead.”

Stevenson appeared on KCBS Radio as well, to discuss the surge of workers joining unions across big companies. 

“I do think that it's important that people start to wake up to the fact that some of our jobs have become worse because of COVID. Economists have long said that people demand higher wages when their working conditions are unpleasant. So if working conditions become worse, you have to somehow compensate people for that. Otherwise there are going to be people who want to leave the occupation that are not matched by people who want to come into it,” she said.

Citing the example in the healthcare industry, Stevenson believes that the way to bring people back into difficult careers is by making the job more pleasant and offering higher compensation. “This sounds trite, but at the end of the day kindness matters, and treating your workers well and people feeling joyful as they go to work, that’s going to matter.”

Stevenson also marked childcare as the “crucial piece” of the now growing economy, in a conversation with Bridge Michigan.  

“If we want to keep parents in the workforce, if we want to keep kids out of poverty, we've got to make sure child care is affordable,” Stevenson said, while adding that “you don't make child care affordable by having people work for next to nothing in child care. We've got to do it through government subsidies."

Read and listen to items featuring Betsey Stevenson here: