David Swenson, research scientist, was interviewed for a Sept. 28 Gazette story, "Can Iowa businesses use 401(k)s, other benefits as a recruitment lure?" about businesses using 401Ks and other benefits to recruit new employees.
Dave Swenson, an economist at Iowa State University, said he’s seen this already happen in some industries.
“We’re already seeing wages that were built up in food processing,” Swenson said. “We have seen some improvements in leisure and hospitality and especially in dining and drinking, although we don’t know if that’s because grateful diners and drinkers are much more gregarious with tips than they might have been.”
Swenson said many employees who had been willing to work for lower wages may have been laid off during the pandemic and found work in other industries.
“If they found work and the work was adequate to maintain their household and income needs, they’re not coming back,” Swenson said. “Your ability to depend on that kind of labor has gone down, and that means so does your ability to pay what you were able to pay that labor.”
Swenson was interviewed by KCRG-TV about some Iowa school districts facing shortages of food and other critical supplies.
“As we recover, bringing back some of that institutional product processing capacity is something that will lag the demand,” said Dave Swenson, a research scientist in the Department of Economics at Iowa State University.