business news in context, analysis with attitude

The Wall Street Journal reports that "some of the biggest U.S. employers of entry-level workers are adding tens of thousands of new positions as the economy roars back from the coronavirus pandemic. Many are raising wages or adding perks to entice workers from other jobs or off the sidelines of the labor market.

" Inc. said Thursday that it would hire 75,000 more workers and offer $1,000 signing bonuses in some locations, its latest hiring spree in a year of tremendous job growth at the e-commerce giant. McDonald’s Corp. said it wants to hire 10,000 employees at company-owned restaurants in the next three months and that it would raise pay at those locations. Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., Applebee’s and KFC are among other chains seeking to hire tens of thousands of workers as they restore indoor seating and seek to bolster staffing there."

The story notes that "demand for workers is so high that wages are rising, too. Average hourly earnings for private-sector employees rose by 21 cents to $30.17 last month, according to a recent Labor Department report. The gain is notable because strong hiring in the lower-wage hospitality sector would typically put downward pressure on average earnings, economists said."

KC's View:

I know that there is a growing feeling out there that unemployed people are getting so much government assistance that they're not going back to work, and there may be some element of truth to that.  

I do think it is a little more complicated that that - we are actually coming out of a pandemic, and there are residual fears and personal issues with which people are grappling.  Yes, they have to get back to work, and yes, we shouldn't make it too easy for them not to.  But a little compassion isn't a bad thing.

I also think it is important to remember that what some folks portray as extravagant government benefits isn't actually all that much money.  The dollars we're talking about are what some people - among them the very people who are complaining about the benefits - drop in T&E on a weekend.  The people getting these benefits are, for the most part, using the money to pay their bills, feed their kids, make rent or mortgage payments.  And it isn't like they are buying cryptocurrency on the side with all the extra dollars.

It may be that the current scenario is creating an environment in which low age workers will become not-quite-so-low wage workers, putting them in a position where they can more comfortably pay their bills, feed their kids, make rent or mortgage payments.