The Future of America's Workforce--Innovative, Mobile, and Independent

Liya Palagashvili, Senior Research Fellow here at the Mercatus Center, and Karen Czarnecki, Vice President of Outreach, had a discussion about independent workers, the gig economy, innovation, labor law, economics, and much more.

As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, leaders need to understand the tremendous transformation that is ongoing in the American labor market. With the rise of independent work--whether app-based, contracting, consulting, and beyond--and new flexible arrangements like fully distributed teams or hybrid office environments, barriers to entering the workforce are falling and workers are embracing this newfound flexibility.

All workers are experiencing benefits from these changes, but new research shows the benefits accruing most to those who need or greatly value such arrangements--parents and familial caretakers, those with long-term illness or disability, and the formerly incarcerated among them. Poorly designed public policy risks preventing Americans from finding a job that works best for them and their specific situation, and dispassionate evidence-based solutions are more important now than ever.

Palagashvili began the event with a summary of her recent research, then discussed the major points of her work, and then opened a discussion addressing the audience's pressing questions.

Listen to this conversation on the Mercatus Policy Download here.