We keep hearing news reports about a looming recession and the Federal Reserve’s mission to increase the unemployment rate in order to bring down inflation. But at the end of the day, the labor market appears to still be playing out largely in the favor of employees rather than their bosses.
It all stems from the pandemic
During the height of COVID-19 lockdowns, everything changed in all aspects of life — including the workplace. Businesses were forced to close down and people lost their jobs.
As the economy was able to reopen and many Americans had some stimulus money to spend (along with the savings they had accrued throughout the pandemic), the ball was lobbed squarely into the workers’ court.
Pretty soon, the number of job opening far outnumbered the number of people looking for work and we started to see what has become known as “the Great Resignation” as employees left jobs in pursuit of greener pastures.
Where we are right now
Despite gloomy news about layoffs in the tech sector and elsewhere across the economy, it’s clear by glancing at the unemployment rate that the jobs market remains very tight. There are plenty of companies hiring and many of them are offering some intriguing perks to recruit the right candidates.
While there’s some evidence that the pendulum is beginning to swing back in the other direction, a few notable achievements in recent years could have lasting benefits for workers everywhere.
- Employees have pushed back against return-to-office demands, extending the remote work revolution.
- Unions have seen a resurgence in popularity as employees at major companies fight to organize.
- Whether through negotiations or resignation threats, wages are increasing faster than before COVID-19.
Things are far from perfect, but the pandemic might have provided the spark to change work for the better.