Article by Nicholas Wyman, CEO of Talent Brokers.

US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (C) and Representatives Kevin McCarthy (L) and Steny Hoyer show the bill to the press after the House passed a $2 trillion stimulus bill, on March 27, 2020, at the US Capitol in Washington, DC. – Alex Edelman | AFP | Getty Images

The unprecedented 3.2 million jump in unemployment insurance claims is just one indication of the near total clampdown of the U.S. economy. Congress has responded by passing the largest stimulus package in U.S. history. The bill expands unemployment benefits to cover more workers, including self-employed and independent contractors, like gig workers, who do not usually qualify for unemployment.

Time will tell if this $2 trillion injection, known as the CARES Act, will deliver.

The U.S. is not alone. Around the world, governments are working overtime on major stimulus legislation to ward off economic disaster from Covid-19. We see many ways to structure a stimulus package and many potential beneficiaries.  But what kind of stimulus will best help workers?

In the U.S. the challenges are unique: 57% of the workforce is either paid hourly or self-employed. Decades ago many hourly workers would have been in stable manufacturing jobs with decent benefits. However, over the last 30 years, jobs have declined in manufacturing as jobs increased in hospitality and services, where irregular and part-time hours with few benefits are common. People in these low-wage, unstable jobs seldom have paid sick leave. They’re also the most likely to lose their jobs when no one is allowed to go out to restaurants, bars, hotels, cafes or concerts for an extended period of time.

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