“If you’re unhappy with your job or want a raise, in the current environment it’s pretty easy to find a new one,” said Gus Faucher, chief economist at PNC. “We’re seeing people vote with their feet.”
‘Golden age’ for workers
Joe Brusuelas, chief economist at RSM, said this may be witnessing the start of what might eventually be considered the “golden age for the American worker.”
“The American worker is now confident that he or she has the bargaining power and can obtain a reasonable wage — and have influence over the shape of working conditions,” Brusuelas said.
“This is what happens after great wars or depressions,” Brusuelas said. “It’s hard to spot while you’re in it, but we’ve gone through a shock that has elicited an unexpected change upon the population. And it will take some time to sort through.”
In the long run, such a workforce transformation will be a positive thing, allowing more people to find satisfaction in their careers and for businesses to have happier employees. And it can allow more workers to make a living wage and contribute to the broader economy, easing the alarming gap between rich and poor.
In the short run, however, the worker shortage will continue to complicate the reopening of the global economy, contributing to rising prices, supply chain stress, product shortages and shipping delays.
“It takes some for these things to work themselves out,” said PNC’s Faucher.