In the spring of 2021, signs began emerging that inflation was creeping in quickly. Still, President Joe Biden and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said it would be transitory and temporary. They got it wrong. On Thursday, October 13, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported consumer inflation hit a new 40-year high in September at 8.2%.
On Tuesday, Biden said he didn’t believe there would be a recession, but some economists say differently. If one does strike the United States, the job market could swing from favoring employees to employers. If companies start layoffs, the so-called “quiet quitters” may be the first to go.
The COVID-19 Pandemic Shifted the Employer-Employee Relationship
Since March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has put workers in a powerful position. As businesses struggled to find people, they offered increased pay, benefits, and flexible hours to entice people back to work. While that may be good for employees, it has also contributed to the rise in consumer prices as employers find ways to pay for wage increases. In the meantime, the Federal Reserve is raising interest rates, which could help slip the US economy into a recession in 2023.
Recessions typically include stubborn unemployment. In 2021 and much of 2022, many Americans took advantage of the wide open job market to pursue new opportunities with better pay and benefits. Many referred to it as “the great resignation.” There was also another recent phenomenon that emerged — “quiet quitting.”
Quiet quitting occurs when employees only do the bare minimum of a job requirement and don’t go above and beyond for their employer. When the economy is good, employers try to discern how to get their workforce to engage more. In challenging economic times, they try to figure out who to let go. Quite quitters might be first on the list.
Employees Express Concern
According to Gallup, half of the workforce may be involved in quiet quitting. Data suggests poor management was primarily to blame for the problem. In June, a survey found that 23% of workers said they were “extremely worried” they could lose their job if the US experienced a recession. It also found that 87% of managers indicated they would likely need to lay off employees.
Steve Koepp, co-founder and Chief Content Officer of the corporate values conference series “From Day One,” said the labor gap between those available to work and open jobs decreased by nearly half during the summer. Therefore, companies no longer need to throw extreme compensation and benefits at potential employers.
So, are you quiet quitting? Are you offering the least amount of effort needed to do your work? Is your contribution and productivity meeting the requirements of your job, but not much else?