Economy slowly begins to recover from numerous problems caused by Covid-19
For two years, Covid-19 has wreaked havoc on the economy and businesses as a whole with shutdowns, quarantines and supply chain issues. Now, as people begin returning to semi-normalcy, the effects are evident.
There is no debate that Covid-19 has had a significant impact on businesses and the job market, however, new numbers are being released about the specifics of this impact. In an article published in August of 2021 titled “The Top Trends in America’s Job Market,” Forbes magazine outlines what the current state of the job market says about the trends of today and the future. A positive that came from the Covid-19 pandemic was the ability for businesses to begin to hire from a larger geographic pool, which comes as a result of the large shift to working from home, something Forbes also says is here to stay.
For the most part, however, Forbes outlined the large negative impact that Covid-19 has made on the job market and economy. Despite the United States having an economic recovery that has been stronger than those of other advanced economies, the numbers surrounding unemployment remain high. A main cause for this is the sheer number of older people that are choosing to stay home and not return to the workforce out of fear from Covid-19. As a result, labor shortages continue to pose a large problem for many of America’s industries.
“The unemployment rate is low right now, but so is the labor force participation rate,” AP Microeconomics teacher Amy Livingston said. “That indicates that people have dropped out of the workforce, which can be attributed to government policies regarding Covid shutdowns and also stimulus checks going out to people. Stimulus checks were meant to provide support during the pandemic, but they have helped to prolong the labor crisis. The longer you pay people not to work, the longer they’re not going to work…We’ve got to get Americans back to work and we’ve got to get them comfortable with working again.”
Remarkably, the ones stepping up to lessen the blow to the workforce are America’s teens. According to USA Today, 33 percent of teens between the ages of 16 and 19 are part of the workforce, which is the highest percentage since the recession of 2008. Recently, blue collar and part-time jobs have strongly declined in demand due to an increase in the desire for a degree and the white-collar jobs associated with them. However, teenagers have been capitalizing on these open positions.
“I think this is a great time for teenagers to get a job because most places are hiring at a minimum of 15 dollars an hour because [they] are short staffed,” Livingston said. “Teenagers today are getting paid more per hour than I ever would have at their age, which I think is a major incentive. I also think teens are more resilient, meaning they aren’t as scared by the pandemic as much as other people. They’re healthier, they’re younger, their immune systems are stronger and they’re ready to get out there and get a job.”
As the majority of teens do not have to work to support themselves, most work to have extra spending money on hand as the cost of certain commodities like gas and other goods are on the rise as a result of the pandemic. Teenagers are therefore less picky about the jobs they have, taking on certain roles that have minimal wages, many of which most adults cannot afford to live off of.
“At my job, I made 11 dollars an hour, which totaled to around $3000 at the end of the summer, which includes tips,” senior Virginia Nussbaumer said. “I actually have most of that money saved up in my bank account to use for fun in college.”
Nussbaumer has worked at the Original Pancake House for the past two summers as a hostess and to-go order server, where she says she learned a lot about how to deal with a wide-range of people and grow her time management skills.
“Because of Covid, staffing was hard for the restaurant, so honestly it was not very competitive to get the job,” Nussbaumer said. “I was hired right after my interview… It was great because it gave me the opportunity to work in a restaurant environment at a young age. I learned a lot from working in a service position. Sometimes the customers were rude, and I had to be patient and smile through the frustration. I learned a lot about myself and the limits I was able to reach in order to help others and my managers.”
Freshman Matthew Charlton spent his summer working in Telluride, Colorado. Charlton scanned lift tickets for the Telluride resort’s mountain biking opportunity.
“I worked by the lifts and scanned passes and tickets for people who were going mountain biking,” Charlton said. “I got paid about 13 dollars an hour, so I had around 1200 dollars by the end of the summer…So far, I’ve used the money to buy golf clubs and Christmas presents. In Telluride, everyone my age has a job. I know a couple people in Dallas that get jobs during the summer, but in Telluride, it’s literally everyone.”
Nussbaumer says she is in a similar position, as a few of her closest friends also get jobs over the summer.
“I think many [teenagers]get jobs for the same reason I do: saving for college,” Nussbaumer said. “My friend Sydney has been a lifeguard for the past two summers and has really enjoyed it. Even though we both had really different jobs, we had a lot of fun relating to each other’s experiences.”