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Can we adjust to change more quickly?

“The question that I think more economists including myself are thinking about now is: What affects the speed of labor-market adjustment? When we were all farmers and then manufacturing came along, the skill mix of a farmer and that of a manufacturer weren’t that different from each other. But it takes time to turn a manufacturer into a computer programmer or a high-skilled service provider, or even a low-skilled service provider. My dad was a manufacturer, and he would have been an awful Walmart greeter. There’s a certain skill set he had that didn’t translate easily to the labor market that we have today.”

—Chicago Booth’s Erik Hurst, speaking at Booth’s Economic Outlook in New York

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