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$1.3 Trillion Reasons Why This Gentleman Says It’s Time to Get Back to Work


Johnny C. Taylor Jr. says the data about lost wages is tough to look at, but it must be looked at.

Johnny C. Taylor Jr. is the president and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), a human resources membership association headquartered in Alexandria, Va. The best practice he’s bringing to work these days is a sense of urgency. Here’s why.

According to recent research from SHRM and Oxford Economics, U.S. workers have lost an estimated $1.3 trillion — roughly $8,900 per worker — from the economic fallout created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Twenty percent of this loss represents earnings of those who remain employed, suggesting job losses alone are an incomplete account of COVID-19’s impact on workers, according to SHRM.

Considering the staggering number, Taylor believes the economy can’t open fast enough for Americans to get back to work.

“It’s literally impossible to overstate the magnitude of $1.3 trillion,” he said in a statement. “A stack of one million hundred-dollar bills would be 3.3 feet — the height of a chair. A stack of one trillion? That’d tower 631 miles high — 2.5 times higher than the International Space Station. But let’s bring it back down to earth because this isn’t just some abstract number: We’re talking about lives and livelihoods. That’s why, hard as it is to look at, leaders need to see this data. This is our reality — and it underscores the urgency with which we must move to safely reopen and return to work.”

The research also revealed that only 20 percent of metropolitan areas and 11 percent of smaller communities will recover employment levels seen before the outbreak by the end of 2020. And nearly four in 10 smaller communities are not expected to recover pre-COVID-19 employment levels by the end of 2024.


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