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Thursday, February 2, 2023

How can we get more Americans back to work?

Top White House economic officials are considering new policies to get more Americans into the workforce, such as increasing child-care subsidies.

According to The Wall Street Journal, officials are expected to brief President Biden soon, but it could be some time before Congress votes on it.

San Diego County’s workforce—adults who have a job or are actively looking for a job—remains smaller than it was when the COVID shutdown began. The region’s active population stood at 1.58 million in October, representing a decrease of 17,600 people from February 2020.

It’s not just San Diego that’s struggling to find workers: It’s much of the country.

White House officials are also reportedly considering increased benefits for elderly care and universal preschool education.

Q: What’s one way to get more Americans back to work?

Caroline Friend, UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy

Public funding for cheaper and better child care options: American families spend a larger proportion of their income on childcare than families in other advanced countries, while the US government spends relatively little. Parents are more likely to return to work if childcare does not take up a large portion of their pay. Quality preschool and childcare options also teach children important skills, prepare them for future success, and support economic growth.

Haney Hong, San Diego County Taxpayers Association

less employment rule, While there are certainly bad entrepreneurs, the vast majority are not. And most companies are small and employ Americans. But they’ve been crushed by “top down” regulations on how to manage their workforce, and I’m sure these mom-and-pop stores are trying to figure it out. If these rules and regulations were so great, why do we have a shrinking middle class and rising inequality?

Kelly Cunningham, San Diego Institute for Economic Research

High Salary: Labor shortage leads to higher wages. While income is certainly not the only driver of labor force participation, it is the main one. Higher wages will attract more Americans to seek work, especially as inflation eats up their rising costs of living, especially among the lowest income groups. Higher wages are a central motivation for workers to seek further education, enhance their work skills, and gain higher levels of responsibility at work. Other considerations are often secondary.

Lynn Riser, economist

provide universal free childcare: Finding accessible nurseries is a big problem for women, especially the youngest women, who are the least likely to participate in the workforce. Offering a free and universal kindergarten would solve part of the problem, even if only a little. It has to last for most of the day to be effective. Early schooling would also represent an important investment in human capital.

Phil Blair, Manpower

Raise the minimum wage across the United States: The minimum wage is still $7.25 an hour in many states. stop!

Gary London, London Moeder Consultant

immigration reformAlthough the unemployment rate remains low, the most effective way of filling open jobs is through the “front line” of companies. Immigrants have historically been a major source of front-line jobs in San Diego in hotels, restaurants, construction and service providers. We need work visa reform that enables us to more quickly attract, approve and welcome immigrants who contribute to the economic prosperity of our region.

Alan Jin, University of San Diego

raise wages and improve working conditions: It should come as no surprise that the industries that have the hardest time attracting and keeping workers are those with low pay and difficult and undesirable working conditions. Some blame generous government programs, but there are many reasons for the shrinking workforce and labor shortage: long-term disability (2 million to 4 million affected, Brookings Institution), early retirement (2.1 million to 2.5 million, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas) City and St. Louis) and a decrease in immigration (from 1.5 million to 2 million, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City).

Bob Rauch, RA Rauch & Associates

end government subsidies: The government has to make things easier for companies by offering incentives for child care, which is perhaps the most pressing problem facing workers today. If the government cuts unemployment benefits for those able-bodied and gradually raises the retirement age to 70, we can begin to reduce our deficit and maintain Social Security’s solvency . Businesses will fix the increase in labor participation if the government gets out of the way.

Kirti Gupta, Qualcomm

He didn’t participate this week.

James Hamilton, UC San Diego

accept more immigrants: A sharp decline in labor force participation rates in 2020 has prompted many to focus on short-term factors such as COVID and unemployment benefits. But the bigger picture is the long-term trend of population ageing. For any particular age group, current participation rates are roughly where they were 20 years ago. If we want more and more people to work, we need more youth. Immigration is the only way to get it.

Austin Neudecker, Weave Growth

public preschoolThe number one reason productive workers leave the workforce in their prime earning years is the lack of reliable and affordable daycare. Providing free early childhood education and after-school programs will give parents a chance to work. We consistently underinvest in our most valuable long-term asset. Early education has been shown to pay dividends in many economic metrics, such as civic engagement, emotional resilience and college graduation rates, higher median incomes and lower crime rates.

Chris Van Gorder, Scripps Health

economic incentives for entrepreneurs: Getting Americans back to work is too complex an issue to solve with a single strategy. There can be many reasons why people do not want to return to work. Offering financial incentives to employers would allow them to tailor the approach to their own workforce. Leaving it in the hands of the government would be neither as effective, nor as effective, while the cost would be borne by all.

Norm Miller, University of San Diego

Delayed Social Security Benefits and Mandated Minimum Distributions: Old workers are those who have left the active population. For the average American, Social Security benefits equal about half of monthly retirement income. Delaying the age of Social Security benefits would encourage more years to work. Currently, age 72 is the age at which to start withdrawing money from individual accounts and retirement plans. Delaying it till 75 will keep the capital invested and encourage our valuable and experienced senior citizens to work longer.

Jamie Moraga, Franklin Revere

workplace development. Post the pandemic, the workforce has re-evaluated workplace norms and work/life goals. Employers who require their employees to return to the office for more than eight hours a day, five days a week, are facing resistance. The workers don’t want to move; They want flexible hours and remote work options, and are actively involved in childcare and family needs. Employers who offer remote jobs with more flexibility could help get more Americans back to work, especially those who have left the workforce during the pandemic.

David Ely, San Diego State University

more flexible working hours, A large number of people have not re-entered the workforce because they are now caring for their children or other family members. This is partly due to a lack of availability and access to childcare services. Where possible, offering more flexible working hours will help workers to better balance childcare and work obligations. Offering this flexibility makes re-entry into the workforce more attractive.

Ray Major, Sunday

apply policies Those who encourage work and discourage non-work.

Have an idea for a question about The Econometer? Email me at phillip.molnar@sduniontribune.com. Follow me on Twitter: @PhillipMolnar

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