At the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Kashkari said they will slowly experiment with both remote and in-person working. People may have to embrace tradeoffs when working one way or another, like a lack of connections to co-workers when working remotely, he said. And when people return to work, Daly believes, they will continue a hybrid mix of in-person and in-office schedules. People have proven to be productive when working from home and appreciate the additional flexibility in their schedules if they’re caring for children or others, she said. As more people return to in-person work, Daly anticipates commercial properties will make up a smaller portion of real estate portfolios. San Francisco is already seeing the repurposing of commercial buildings to housing, a trend Daly said she expects to continue.
Individuals who lost their jobs during the last recession ended up reentering the workforce during the economic expansion of the early 2010s — running contrary to what many believed would happen, Kashkari said. Approximately 8.5 million workers are still not working after losing their jobs when the pandemic began last year. It’s too early to assume they have permanently left the workforce, Daly said.
“It is so tempting … to say that everybody who’s on the sidelines or doesn’t have a job — that they don’t want one or they’re permanently scarred or they can’t possibly come back,” Daly said. Three tenets make up Daly’s view of the present economy in the U.S. “One is that I think we have a very optimistic outlook. Two is we are a long way from digging out of the hole that COVID caused. And three, we’re not out of the woods yet,” she said.
Education should be thought of as a flexible experience, with people able to achieve a degree over a longer, more easily adaptable period, she said. The Federal Reserve of Minneapolis eliminated its four-year degree requirement that was imposed on people seeking officer, vice president or higher roles. The elimination caused movement among talented people to higher, officer roles, Kashkari said. Millions of people don’t have access to the opportunity to secure a four-year degree and are left “on the sidelines” — limiting or eliminating their access to economic mobility, she said.
There are numerous barriers that lie ahead of full economic recovery, the leaders said. “We have been under-housed and over- populated for a long time in most major cities. And house prices have risen beyond what most people can afford. There have been people fleeing further and further to the suburbs,” Daly said. “This can be part of a great rebalancing and recognizing that, actually, communities thrive when we build residential and commercial, sort of, together.”
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