Podcast #235 – A Discussion about Older Workers and ‘The Big Quit’
This week I am speaking with Chris Farrell. I have had Chris on the podcast three other times. I had him on in episodes 2, 177, and 201. So you can tell he is one of my favorite guests.
Chris is currently a senior economics contributor at Marketplace, American Public Media’s nationally syndicated public radio business and economic program. He is also an economics commentator for Minnesota Public Radio and host of its series Conversations on the Creative Economy as well as a columnist for PBS Next Avenue and the Star Tribune. He has published five books on personal finance and the economy including, most recently, Purpose and a Paycheck: Finding Meaning, Money, and Happiness is the Second Half of Life.
Chris recently wrote a piece for Next Avenue called Older Workers and ‘The Big Quit’. We discuss this and where the economy is going specifically as it relates to older workers.
This episode is sponsored by Career Pivot. Check out the Career Pivot Community. Make sure and pick up my latest book, Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for the 2nd Half of Life Third Edition.
Now on to the podcast…
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“The Great Resignation” – The Big Quit
What is The Great Resignation? It’s people who are voluntarily leaving their jobs. This surge is currently at record levels.
In 2020 we saw a big rise in people starting their own business which is great for our economy. The majority of those who took this leap come from adults 45 and over.
We got a quick and uncomfortable look at how short life is, which pushed the thought of “what do I want to do next?”
Also, people financially could leap and quit their jobs due to the pandemic and the loss of outlets for spending. Chris states that many took future thoughts or dreams and turned them into reality. This is not only good for the economy but healthy for individuals to have the power to leave their current jobs.
Through this shift in the economy and many leaving their steady long-term jobs, many quickly learned the importance of their safety net. They began by taking their side hustles more seriously, continuing to do something they enjoy, and using it to help aid their financial well-being.
Those Who Didn’t Quit
While some have found the courage to quit and do something better for themselves, another group of people decided to take their opportunity to retire. While many retired through opportunity, many made this choice thinking it was their only option. The big question is as the economy continues to grow and mend will those that retired come back to work? Or are they done and we are seeing a true change in life circumstances?
The Current State of the Economy
Unemployment numbers as of June showed that over half of the long-term unemployed were 55 years and older. How will that affect the economy?
There is a chance that we will reach a full-employment economy says Chris, where people are leaving the sidelines and coming back to full-time work.
If we do not get back to full employment then those having a hard time finding work will continue to have a hard time. This includes women trying to make their way back into the job market. Most likely you could expect to see women make their way back heading into the fall as schools begin to re-open and children are heading back.
Chris interviewed a group of people that had unusual jobs and found that people were loving the random jobs they found themselves in.
Typically when someone asks themselves what they want to do next, it involves something along the lines of what they are currently doing. The pandemic seems to have opened up the option for people to find another line of work and in return find a new passion.
What makes for a good job? And how do people have good jobs? According to Chris, outside of the evident good jobs such as computers or biotech, if we are going to have a society focused around work then we need to think more seriously about what makes a good job and how more people can have good jobs.
What Does the Future Hold?
Chris believes it will be a stronger than expected economy. While he believes inflation is only temporary it could linger through 2022. He states that it just might take longer to get the labor participation number up. People are still scared and the pandemic is still very relevant. Chris feels optimistic but acknowledges that it is still a stretched-out process. We are stronger than a normal economy but we still have a ways to go. For Chris, September should mark an improvement in the labor market.
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