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The US Economy’s Great Adjustment

With many low-paying jobs going unfilled, it seems that the COVID-19 crisis has forced a much-needed adjustment in a labor market where workers had long suffered from a decline in bargaining power. But, as pandemic-support programs end and automation accelerates, workers face serious risks.


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Elmira Bayrasli: Welcome to Opinion Has It. I’m Elmira Bayrasli.

When the pandemic began, workers in the US lost their jobs in droves.

Archive Recording: 3,839,000 people filed for unemployment benefits for the very first time. That brings the six-week total over the past six weeks to about 30 million people out of work.

Archive Recording: I mean, we’re talking one in five workers in the United States in the space of six weeks now out of a job, furloughed, or frightened for the future of their jobs.

Archive Recording: The US unemployment rate reached 14.7% in April. That is the highest it’s been since the Great Depression.

EB: But as the US starts to reopen, people aren’t rushing back to work. Many are even quitting the jobs that they do have.

Archive Recording: It’s being called the “Great Resignation.”

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