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Brad DeLong: Worthy reads on equitable growth, May 4-10, 2021

Summary:
Worthy reads from Equitable Growth: 1. The surprising and disappointing slow growth of U.S. employment between March and April underscores how sick the U.S. labor market still is. We need both better social support networks for those who want to return to work and higher wages in the jobs that people are going to be moving to in order to restore the health of the labor market. And, meanwhile, job displacement will not be without its substantial costs. We are still far from being out of the woods. Read Kate Bahn and Carmen Sanchez Cumming,” The consequences of job displacement for U.S. workers,” in which they write: “Unemployment in the United States remains high, and there are 8.4 million fewer jobs than prior to the pandemic … Some of those who lost their jobs are experiencing

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Worthy reads from Equitable Growth:

1. The surprising and disappointing slow growth of U.S. employment between March and April underscores how sick the U.S. labor market still is. We need both better social support networks for those who want to return to work and higher wages in the jobs that people are going to be moving to in order to restore the health of the labor market. And, meanwhile, job displacement will not be without its substantial costs. We are still far from being out of the woods. Read Kate Bahn and Carmen Sanchez Cumming,” The consequences of job displacement for U.S. workers,” in which they write: “Unemployment in the United States remains high, and there are 8.4 million fewer jobs than prior to the pandemic … Some of those who lost their jobs are experiencing … job displacement … [and] their prior positions [will] no longer exist even as the economy recovers … Job displacement is generally outside of the control of individual workers, but it nonetheless can break down career ladders, dissolve valuable worker-employer relationships, and widen existing racial disparities in labor market outcomes.”

2. Equitable Growth has, after its ramp-up period, gotten in the groove with respect to funding substantial amounts of truly excellent economic research. If you do not read this, you almost surely have only a partial view of what we are doing and what we have learned from it. Read our “Second Annual Academic Research Report,” in which we explain: “We place a priority on research that is relevant to policy debates, abetting the development of evidence-based policies. Equitable Growth’s in-house team of more than 40 staff helps bridge the gap between researchers and the policy process … And we are committed to increasing diversity … to support more Black scholars and to fund more research based on the lived experience and legacy of structural racism … Since 2013, Equitable Growth has provided more than $6 million in grants to more than 200 researchers. In 2020, we announced a record $1.07 million in grant funding. The funds went to 19 faculty grants and 12 doctoral grants supporting Ph.D. student researchers. Separately, we awarded more than $250,000 in grants for new research on paid leave, with a focus on medical and caregiving leave and on employer responses to paid leave.”

Worthy reads not from Equitable Growth:

1. Noah Smith and I interview the extremely sharp Cory Doctorow on tech fixes to tech antitrust and public-sphere regulation problems. View our podcast, “Mandated Interoperability: We Can’t Make it Work, or Can We?” 

2. We are now in the middle of an enormous transformation in the nature of work. I am very positive about its long-run impacts. And I think Adam Ozimek is correct here in focusing on the reduced deadweight loss of commuting. Read his “Economist Report: Future Workforce,” in which he writes: “Companies continue to be remote: Nine months into the pandemic, 41.8 percent of the American workforce remains fully remote. Companies say remote work is getting easier, not harder, as time goes on: 68 percent of hiring managers say remote work is going more smoothly now than when their company first made the shift to at the start of the pandemic. Remote work will continue through 2021: Managers believe that 26.7 percent of the workforce will be fully remote in one year suggesting that individuals will gradually continue to return to the office, but a significant share will remain remote in the near future. The number of remote workers in the next five years is expected to be nearly double what it was before COVID–19: By 2025, 36.2 million Americans will be remote, an increase of 16.8 million people from pre-pandemic rates. Increased productivity and flexibility continue to be key benefits of remote work: Hiring managers cite reduction of non-essential meetings, increased schedule flexibility, and no commute as aspects of remote work that have worked better than expected.”

Bradford DeLong
J. Bradford DeLong is Professor of Economics at the University of California at Berkeley and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He was Deputy Assistant US Treasury Secretary during the Clinton Administration, where he was heavily involved in budget and trade negotiations. His role in designing the bailout of Mexico during the 1994 peso crisis placed him at the forefront of Latin America’s transformation into a region of open economies, and cemented his stature as a leading voice in economic-policy debates.

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