Will there be enough demand?

Calling all economists! How do you imagine the labor market panning out over the next 1-18 months? Do you think there will be enough demand for newly trained workers? Why or why not?

How can we develop robust judging criteria to account for potentially weak labor demand?

@bedomin, @dr2tom, @Ann, @Klaus, @CindyUNC, what do you think?

I believe that demand in certain industries will be nearly immediate, such as biomedical manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, and some health care areas.

Also, small business tends to grow during times of recession - when people are laid off from industry, they consider their entrepreneurial and creative sides more strongly and create startups. Teams such as ours have strategies in place to support startup creation and acceleration. One of our key plans, for example, has been forecasted via IMPLAN modeling to be able to create 900 jobs in a year.

I agree with @CindyUNC that certain occupations will be in immediate demand. The crucial question is how sustainable the job creation in these sectors will be. For example, there is strong demand for health care workers, paramedics, and people assisting in testing on SARS-CoV-2. Their employment basically depends on how long the pandemic continues.

In addition, think that there is strong demand for workers in tech sectors that are dealing with equipment for home offices, distance learning, and distance conferencing. Probably the demand for these services will not collapse after the pandemic ends, because at least some businesses might stick to the new ways of operating when they are more efficient.

On average, however, the next few months will definitely look grim in terms of labor demand.

Perhaps a way of judging the success of training measures in such an environment would be whether they could help to avoid layoffs: E.g.: offering a firm to train a worker who would otherwise be laid off for 30 days (in which the firm would not have to pay the wage) and afterwards observing whether the person is still employed with the firm after, say, 90 days.

US EDA (Economic Development Administration) uses “jobs retained” as a metric for their RIS/Build-to-Scale program, and it’s also a goal of PPP. Certainly valid to look at job retention over time.

EDA measures in 6-month increments, fyi.

Thank you for sharing your insights, @CindyUNC and @Klaus!

@spargail, @greengil, @AlexandraW, @Elizabeth, @Harlan, it would be great to have your insight on this topic as well! Please let us know how you expect the labor market to develop in the next 18 months.

If you have recommendations for developing robust judging criteria to account for potentially weak labor demand, we’d love to read those as well.

There is a lot of speculation by economists and others about this issue of what the future of work is as a result of the virus. I don’t think there’s enough hard data yet to be able to make a accurate opinion about the future of work. It is and will be disruptive but it’s too early to speculate about how it will all play out.