Recent data show that the United States labor force is underperforming as compared to last year. Americans were found to produce less work than before and take a shorter time to work.
Unfortunately, economists say this will profoundly impact the nation’s economy in the long run.
However, American workers do not unnecessarily underperform without reason. For example, Brian Bouser, age 22, said that he decided not to put a lot of effort into his work due to an instance where he suddenly got a text message from his boss saying that his pay was going down from $25 per hour to $13.50.
What’s more, Bouser did not receive any explanation from his boss why this was so.
Bouser is a part-timer and currently enrolls at the University of Louisville. As a working student, he said he needed the money to pay for his bills and other expenses, and his wage going down meant either readjusting his expenses or finding another job that paid more. Moreover, when he asked his friends, he found that his case was not isolated.
There were many like him whose salaries were lessened, and some even cut in half. Ironically, the salary cuts were imposed when companies are scrambling to find people to work for them due to the holiday season and the economy in shambles.
However, Bouser knew that this was natural in the business world.
“I used to think having a job would make me secure. I no longer think that,” he said.
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The economic ennui is manifesting
According to Julia Pollak, ZipRecruiter’s chief economist, the economic ennui is becoming more pronounced in recent months. This is due to major changes within the US economy, prompting workers to feel insecure about their jobs.
When the pandemic forced countries to close down businesses and usual operations, the US saw massive layoffs in jobs, with over 20 million people out of their posts just weeks after the pandemic struck the country. The layoffs were indiscriminate.
Whether you were a top performer or not, the layoffs affected everyone. When the country opened up again, industries and the job market restarted. However, firings and job cuts were still high, with existing employees burned out due to less employee population.
As a result, productivity plummeted. Productivity among American workers dropped by 4.1%, the biggest dip on record. Since 1948, productivity among Americans has seen an upward trend, but that changed only this time.
And Pollack added that a number of factors could be blamed for this. Frustration, burnout, and ennui all incite lower productivity among the workers in the market.
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An ominous sign for the economy
Pollack stated that if this trend continues, it will not be suitable for the country’s economy. To make matters worse, the economic ennui seems to be a challenging problem to counter and might take years to counter, which would have already affected the economy by then.
“Once you’ve had that sort of Ecclesiastes moment of thinking everything is futile and pointless, how do you get people to believe that hard work pays off again?” she said.
Photo Credit: Netflix