Betsy Stevenson observed key economic indicators and the continuing effects of COVID-19 this week.
At Wednesday’s CNBC Workforce Executive Council Summit, she said, “People seem to be fed up and leaving work...There are a lot of different things to think about besides the wage, but I do think this is a time where there is some pretty serious upward pressure on wages.”
Commenting on the sluggish third-quarter performance of the U.S. economy, Stevenson told CNN that "It's clear what's happened to GDP. It's being affected by Covid, not just in the US but around the world,” while adding that “the only economic policy that really matters right now is jabs in arms.”
Recently released wage inflation rates has Stevenson concerned as well—up 3.7% for the third quarter from a year ago and 2.9% in the second quarter. Talking Marketplace, she cited the Great Inflation of the 1970s and warned that “workers trying to build into their contracts automatic wage increases of 5% to 6%, because they think ‘I’m going to need just that to buy the same set of things I was buying the year before'’” would likely create a “self fulfilling prophecy.”
Stevenson also weighed in on the labor crisis currently burdening the country’s correctional system, narrowing in on COVID-19 as one of the main reasons.
Speaking to The Marshall Project she said, “When jobs become riskier, it becomes harder to attract workers. By failing to protect prisoners from COVID, the criminal justice system not only created an unfair risk of severe illness and death for the incarcerated, but the increased COVID risk to employees has undoubtedly contributed to staffing shortages.”
Read each of these items featuring Stevenson:
- "Disappointing economic growth proves Covid remains the biggest problem for Joe Biden," CNN Politics, October 30, 2021
- "Prices are rising. So are wages. And that worries some economists," Marketplace, October 29, 2021
- "As Corrections Officers Quit in Droves, Prisons Get Even More Dangerous," The Marshall Project, November 1, 2021