Stevenson predicts employment changes ahead

September 3, 2021

Change is inevitable when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic. Rising infection rates have caused an otherwise recovering economy to slow, and Betsey Stevenson predicts there may be more change ahead.

“I think we are going to see some of the great gains we saw in July start to taper,” she told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I think we’ve got a bumpy road ahead of us.” 

The pandemic has also brought a new demand for a rise in wages.

"It drives me crazy when people say, 'We can't get any workers.' No, you can't get workers at the wage you want to pay," Stevenson said on the podcast Innovation Hub. "The problem is we've gotten used to cheap, low-wage labor, and we've got to break that habit. Cheap, low-wage labor is not sustainable for anyone."

Stevenson told the The Guardian that a combination of the reluctance to return to riskier jobs, like in-person service, an increase in the federal social safety net, and businesses adopting different norms during the pandemic, may result in more worker bargaining power. 

“The ruthless company that pays as little as possible, with all the profits going to managers and investors – that cutthroat approach was a successful U.S. model," said Stevenson. "I think it’s not a successful U.S. model after the pandemic. That has the potential to reshape bargaining power.”

Read and hear the news items featuring Stevenson below: