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The Perfect Storm: The Coming Labor and Economic Crisis

Unemployment, inflation, interest rates, individual debt loads, polarizing wealth gaps, and political unrest. Any of these topics can be destabilizing to our society. Together, they create a perfect storm for massive disruption to the American workforce and the economy. 

For years, unemployment has been extremely low, recently hitting the lowest numbers since 1969 (3.4%). But that trend is changing and we should be over 4% in the coming months. This is still healthy for our economy, but the power is shifting from the employee to the employer. The 1.8 open jobs for every person seeking work from months ago is now 1.4. Fewer jobs are available. There is also a clear mismatch between the jobs people want and the jobs being offered.

Inflation remains a serious problem and it impacts lower wage earners disproportionately as they have less discretionary income. This reality has accelerated borrowing and individual debt loads.

The top 10% of earners held 69% of the wealth in the United States in Q2 of 2023, a fact more widely known than ever before as access to this kind of wealth disparity is more broadly publicized.

What does all of this mean for the workforce and the stability of our economy? In the short term, it means more unionization (although I do not believe this is a long-term trend). It means civil unrest. And it means a growing call for a national strike - where hourly workers remove themselves from the economic engine, and without them, our economy grinds to a halt. 

© Copyright 2023. The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and not necessarily the views of Ankura Consulting Group, LLC., its management, its subsidiaries, its affiliates, or its other professionals. Ankura is not a law firm and cannot provide legal advice.

Too many negative realities are hitting lower wage earners at the same time and they are not waiting around for things to get better. They are angry and mobilizing.


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