'The unemployed aren’t leaving work, they are changing work, and change takes time' - Stevenson

June 7, 2021

Betsey Stevenson, professor of public policy and economics, explained why the U.S. isn't seeing the economic recovery that everyone hoped for in a recent commentary for The New York Times

"Finding work is harder than returning to work. Job searches are painful: Research shows that the unemployed are profoundly unhappy in the moments spent actively searching for work," Stevenson wrote. "They must look hard at their skills and experiences, often confronting their all-too-human imperfections, and create a pitch to sell themselves to new employers. It is not fun."

Stevenson pointed out that laid-off workers need time to figure out where they are most productive, adding more time to the expected bounce back of the economy. Not only are workers reevaluating what type of work best fits them, but consumers are reevaluating how they spend their money — the pandemic changed how people shop, work and live, forcing changes in everyone's daily lives.

"The pace of labor market recovery will undoubtedly accelerate in the coming months," Stevenson said. "And our current slow pace might just be the right thing in the long run. More productive workers mean a more productive economy, but getting workers into the jobs in which they can be most productive will take time."

This opinion piece was originally published in The New York Times. Read the entirety of the piece here.