From The Cornell Daily Sun:

Despite suggestions that these recent gains signal a recovery in the U.S. labor market, there is still debate surrounding the velocity of a potential recovery. “We still have a long way to go…it’s not going to be a V-shaped recovery, ” said Eli Lehrer ’98, president of the R Street Institute, a conservative think tank based in Washington, D.C.

As previously closed businesses reopened, the labor market reversed a mass number of layoffs caused by the suppressed demand during the nation’s lockdown. Consumer demand experienced the largest monthly gain in May — 8.2 percent — after the single biggest monthly drop in April, 12.6 percent.

Lehrer attributed this phenomenon to the role consumer spending plays in driving the economy and to the employment gain in general merchandising like Walmart, Costco and Target.

Lehrer thought that the stimulus checks were the most effective policy initiative because they “played a role in juicing consumer spending, which has resulted in the increased ability of consumers to make purchases that they might not have been able to make otherwise.”

In order to continue toward a path to economic recovery and return to pre-pandemic employment levels, there are specific areas where resources can be directed towards achieving desired targets, according to Lehrer.

“Efforts should be geared directly towards individuals coupled with narrowly targeted efforts towards employers,” he said. Lehrer believed the key problem in the U.S. economy is the relative low levels of labor force participation for men without college degrees.

To encourage people with no college degrees to work, Lehrer recommended policies which support men who do not obtain four-year degrees to look at skilled jobs like dental hygienists and other health careers that don’t require four-year degrees.

“[The reopening] must be done in phases and requires strict adherence to the guidelines and protocol because if the process is rushed, it will need to be restarted from the beginning,” Lehrer said.

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