Over the past six months we’ve all adapted to the new normal of living in a time of a pandemic. Remote working has become the norm for employees of many companies. Layoffs and furloughs that were enacted early on drove unemployment to record highs in Iowa, but in recent weeks we’ve begun to see jobless numbers and claims for unemployment fall as businesses bring more people back to work. As we approach the last months of 2020, we took a look at what 2021 may bring. Early projections had been that recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic could take 18 months or longer. Now, six months later, the reality is setting in that recovery will be a marathon, and its effect on our state’s workforce could be long-lasting. In the Business Record’s virtual Newsroom 515, we asked business leaders to forecast what the labor market in Iowa may look like in 2021, and what strategies may be employed for the state to recover and be stronger than it was before. In our first question, panelists talked about changes to the labor market brought on by the pandemic and whether they think they'll be long-term. 

Panelists:
Mary Bontrager, executive vice president of talent development, Greater Des Moines Partnership
Negus Sankofa Imhotep, workforce development director, Urban Dreams
Tom Root, associate professor of finance, Drake University
Kathy Joblinske, market president and executive vice president of Manpower Group