Brookings: Reopening America: Three ways to preserve jobs

“The United States has experienced many more job losses than other high-income countries due to a significant freeze in economic activity that has been compounded by a decades-long deterioration in labor market arrangements. Reopening promises the opportunity to reemploy millions, but it will be a high-wire act, phasing in business activity without stoking the virus beyond health systems’ capacity.  

To stretch state funds, local leaders can pull other levers, particularly invoking their convening power to match workers who may be temporarily furloughed with temporary opportunities for employment. This is a kind of pseudo work sharing, in a business-to-business form, known as strategic employee sharing.  

Data on similarity of jobs and transferability of human talent can help mediate these arrangements. For example, our new research on job-to-job transitions can identify occupations that frequently transition to become stock clerks (retail salespersons, cashiers, and janitors) for any given metropolitan area. Using job posting data for an additional layer showing which occupations may be in high demand, we observe a 58 percent increase in demand for stock clerks and a 24 percent drop for retail salespersons. Employers in need of stock clerks could source them from shrinking occupations.”

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