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With many low-paying jobs unfilled, it appears the COVID-19 crisis has forced a much-needed adjustment in a labor market where workers have long suffered from declining bargaining power. But, as pandemic support programs end and automation accelerates, workers face serious risks.

Transcription

Elmira Bayrasli: welcome to Opinion has it. I am Elmira Bayrasli.

When the pandemic began, American workers lost their jobs in droves.

Archival record: 3,839,000 people applied for unemployment benefits for the very first time. That brings the six-week total over the past six weeks to around 30 million people without jobs.

Archival recording: I mean, we’re talking about one in five workers in the United States in the space of six weeks now out of a job, on leave, or scared for the future of their jobs.

Archival recording: The US unemployment rate hit 14.7% in April. It is the highest since the Great Depression.

EB: But as the United States begins to reopen, people aren’t rushing back to work. Many even quit the jobs they have.

Archival recording: this is called the “great resignation”.

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