Monday, October 18, 2021

Bill Mitchell — Latest US quits behaviour signals possible shift in power to workers

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics published the latest JOLTs data last week (October 12, 2021) – Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary – August 2021 – which has raised a possible shift in bargaining power in the US labour market towards workers. The most obvious sign of that is the rising quit rates, which are most prevalent in the low-wage sectors. While there is still some slack in the US labour market, the evidence suggests that workers are taking advantage of the improved job opportunities to pursue better wages and conditions. We will have to wait and see whether there are any significant wage outcomes arising from this behaviour or whether workers are just jumping from very bad to bad jobs. Time will tell..…
Hard to tell at this point whether there will be a "return to normal" as back to the status quo ante, a new normal, or continuing disruption from fluid conditions. Uncertainty is so elevated now that forecasting is mostly guessing about assumptions and expectations. There seems to be no historical trend to base modeling on. 

So, questions about employment, inflation, etc. are about new territory, especially given that climate change seems to present longterm challenges that affect energy, which is the basis of production, transportation, communication, etc. In other words the commanding heights of the economy. As a result, the world system is under stress socially, politically, and economically, right down to the availability of food and water.

But so far the fundamental structure of neoliberalism remains in place, which means that workers are a tool and not a target economically, although they becomes actual targets for repression if they get too far out of line, and we are already seeing strikes increasing.

I am not very sanguine about prospects, since actually addressing the issues involves not only jettisoning "neoliberalism" but also re-tooling "capitalism" itself as an economic system based on private accumulation where distribution is allocated by market forces and externality can be socialized, especially in an era of finance and monopoly capitalism were rent-seeking predominates.

Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Latest US quits behaviour signals possible shift in power to workers
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

1 comment:

Peter Pan said...

Robo-dogs with sniper rifles will teach workers a lesson.