What Can We Learn from Our Mixed-Up Economy?

Used car prices rose 10 percent in one month. There are businesses looking for workers and yet the national unemployment rate is still at around 6 percent. Then, there are shortages of products like lumber and microchips. It seems to all be a bit crazy.

Check out this podcast that doesn’t have all the answers, but does address some of the dynamics currently at work here in the United States: A Strange Moment for the U.S. Economy.”

The podcast is described this way: “Why is the economic recovery from the pandemic so uneven? Why are companies finding it hard to hire? And why are the prices of used cars surging? Recent economic reports have commentators scratching their heads. We dig into the theories behind this strange moment for the American economy. Guest: Ben Casselman, an economics and business reporter for The New York Times.”

I’ll highlight only one aspect of everything that was discussed, which is the lack of child care that is keeping some parents from returning to the workplace. Some of that “child care” includes the fact that schools are not all back in session in the classroom.

The disaster connection to the above is this. It has been documented that for a community to recover from a disaster, you need to have people back in their homes; employees back to work and businesses in operation; and, lastly, schools functioning and in session.

Thus, it should not be surprising that “child care” and schools lagging can be something that is dragging down employment and businesses finding workers. There are, of course, other factors at work, but this is certainly a big one.
Eric Holdeman is a nationally known emergency manager. He has worked in emergency management at the federal, state and local government levels. Today he serves as the Director, Center for Regional Disaster Resilience (CRDR), which is part of the Pacific Northwest Economic Region (PNWER). The focus for his work there is engaging the public and private sectors to work collaboratively on issues of common interest, regionally and cross jurisdictionally.
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