Remember. When you’re looking to invest, consider the semiconductor and cybersecurity companies that will power and protect the digital economy. With artificial intelligence likely to deliver exponential gains in the years ahead, several once high-paying jobs could soon find themselves on the chopping block.
Of course, what alternatives exist in an economy that is driven by services and hospitality. But, unfortunately, the COVID-19 universe has delivered a “take this job and shove it” situation that has workers filing off the job and employers now desperate for a short-term solution.
Where Have the Workers Gone?
In September, 4.4 million Americans walked off the job. They quit. They weren’t fired, they weren’t furloughed, they didn’t take time off. The workers straight up left.
Some of them might have gone on to become cryptocurrency traders. But I can’t tell you what the bulk of these Americans are doing today, significantly ahead of a busy shopping season. Here’s the thing. There’s a lot of evidence that the so-called “Great Resignation” isn’t going to slow down in the year ahead.
New government data shows that the largest job turnover happened in the leisure and hospitality, retail, manufacturing, and health services sectors. These businesses have a critical thing in common. They cannot be done remotely.
So, the workers have to travel to work. They’ll have to buy gasoline. They might need child care. They might also have to – gulp – work in person with other people. There’s a great joke by Paul F. Thompkins about young people going off to do their first job in the retail sector because they “like people.” Only to find out that they “thought they liked people.”
About 34.4 million people have quit their jobs through September of 2021. That’s nearly the same amount of people (36.3 million) who quit over the entire year in 2020. At this pace, we might witness that figure surpassing 40 million by the time the year ends.
And, these Americans aren’t rushing to accept new jobs. According to the Labor Department, there remain 10.4 million job openings across the nation.
Looking to Artificial Intelligence
I’ve said that companies aren’t waiting around for applicants to show up at the door and stick around for years. They are already lining up investments in robotics and automation. And as artificial intelligence grows more intelligent every year, look for more job displacement and stifled wages in the years to come.
I don’t say this is all bad news. But, again, you might not realize it, but all of this technology has dramatically raised our standards of living. The problem, of course, is that monetary policy continues to drive inflation, which is what makes us feel poorer.
I used to think that nations used fiscal policy (taxes) to control their populations. But the more I learn about monetary policy… the more I realize just how crooked things are.