Microsoft founder-turned-philanthropist Bill Gates raised eyebrows in November when he predicted that half of business travel and 30 percent of “days in the office” would go away forever. That forecast no longer seems far-fetched. In a report coming out later this week that was previewed to The Washington Post, the McKinsey Global Institute says that 20 percent of business travel won’t come back and about 20 percent of workers could end up working from home indefinitely. These shifts mean fewer jobs at hotels, restaurants and downtown shops, in addition to ongoing automation of office support roles and some factory jobs.
“We’re recovering, but to a different economy,” Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell said in November.
The nation’s unemployed are starting to react to these big shifts. Two-thirds of the jobless say they have seriously considered changing their occupation or field of work, according to the Pew Research Center. That is a significant increase from the Great Recession era, when 52 percent said they were considering such a change.
“We think that there is a very real scenario in which a lot of the large employment, low-wage jobs in retail and in food service just go away in the coming years,” said Susan Lund, head of the McKinsey Global Institute. “It means that we’re going to need a lot more short-term training and credentialing programs.”
One problem for many unemployed people is they lack the money to retrain. This crisis has put many out of work for nearly a year, and the financial support from unemployment and food stamps is often not sufficient to pay their bills. The stimulus legislation being debated in Congress does not include any money for retraining.
“Trying to figure out what to do six months from now is hard when you are trying to make ends meet and you don’t have enough food,” said Brad Hershbein, who helps design and study retraining programs as a senior economist at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
Take Serena Couch, who lost her job at Disney World in Orlando in April. She initially held out hope that she would be called back, but as the months went by, it became clear that that was unlikely. Now the 27-year-old has started spending her days looking for jobs and trying to learn to code by watching YouTube videos and reading blogs.
“I’m trying to learn coding on my own, because that’s what everyone says to do when you’re in this position,” said Couch, who receives about $500 a month in jobless benefits, not enough to pay bills. “I can’t afford to pay for a program, so I’m just doing free programs online.”
Couch and her boyfriend, who is also laid off from a theme park, moved in with a relative to save money, and her car was repossessed around Christmas. Couch said she never intended to make a career in the hospitality industry, but without a college degree, she thought her job options were limited.
“We haven’t been able to find anything that…
Go to the news source: Millions of jobs aren’t coming back after the pandemic ends, spurring a need for…