Even the phrase sounds magical: full employment. That's the dream, isn't it? Everybody who wants to work can, and everybody who does work gets dignity and builds wealth from it. Nationally, we seem to be approaching record unemployment lows, but it's important to maintain healthy skepticism about those reports. Can it be done, though? What does that even look like?
The Atlantic's Annie Lowrey has just shared a look at this possible future, where it may exist in Des Moines, Iowa. Hiring managers are scrambling for talent, while wages are rising for those in work they like. Local government is expanding job training programs, which opens up opportunities for marginalized communities and young people about to enter the workforce.
There are some fissures beneath all the successes, however. Wages and cost of living aren't rising in tandem, even if Des Moines is a much cheaper place to live than Seattle or Washington, D.C. The conditions that encourage full employment are subject to the economy's larger trends, and a lot of people who watch the markets are really worried about political developments like a trade war with China. Meanwhile, beyond Iowa, the worker shortage isn't so much in evidence — although job candidates who want to work aren't impressed by the wages on offer.
Macroeconomic news like this can feel overwhelming and implacable. But it's worth paying attention, especially if it gives you the jump to get your money in order sooner rather than later. It's never a bad time to look over your budget, figure out new ways to save, and boost your income, whether it's through side gigs, a raise, or a new job altogether. Take the time to check in with your financial status. If everything goes well, you'll still be glad you did.