What If “Transitory” Inflation Is Here To Stay?

One of the emerging trends in the almost-post-covid economy is companies suddenly having to…

by John Rubino of Dollar Collapse

One of the emerging trends in the almost-post-covid economy is companies suddenly having to pay way up to find new employees. Restaurants, truckers, even Uber and Lyft, are now struggling to track down and re-hire the people they and their competitors shed during the lockdown. It’s not going well:

The Covid recovery labor shortage is intense. Experts say it will force businesses to raise wages

(Pittsburgh Business) – As director of the Tucker Summit Community Improvement District, Emory Morsberger’s job is to help position companies in the district for success. Normally, that means working on road improvements, security or landscaping.

These days, he’s helping businesses in that portion of Georgia with a different and urgent challenge: finding talent.

Just like in numerous metro areas and smaller cities around the nation, a labor shortage has arrived in Tucker in impressive force. Morsberger acknowledges it’s likely to get much worse before it gets better as the economy’s improvement continues at a rapid pace, but enhanced unemployment benefits and child care challenges limit the labor pool.

According to a March survey by the National Federation for Independent Business, 42% of business owners reported job openings they couldn’t fill — a record high, and 20 percentage points higher than the 48-year historical average of 22%.

Good news … for now
A labor shortage is a great equalizer, moving money from the upper reaches of society down to people who both deserve and need it. So going forward, a rising number of Americans should be able to pay their bills, including their back rent, without government aid. Better late than never.

But with official inflation already above the conventional wisdom’s safe target range — and with the financial markets banking on government promises that current inflation is “transitory” — what happens when 20% wage increases collide with soaring commodities (see iron orecopper, and lumber)?

Transitory might become the new normal, and we have to go all the way back to the currency crises of the 1970s for a sense of what that’s like