Once the world discovers a place like Boise, it is hard to turn back. A critical mass of new, higher incomes tends to foster new amenities like restaurants and cultural institutions. This is a virtuous cycle that creates great cities, but, unfortunately, makes the amenity-cost tradeoff less attractive for lower wage workers.
The world of office work is clearly not going back to pre-pandemic patterns. It is also clear that many workers are anxious to return to people-centered environments.
So the question is, how much snap-back we see in office occupancy?
Maybe the most overused cliche in the political world: the generals are fighting the last war. But this time it really is true. The most prominent rationale for the new pandemic relief package is avoiding a repeat of 2009, when the federal government acted too timidly and recovery dragged on for years.
Unionization clearly has benefits for many individuals who work for unionized employers, in terms of higher wages. But for the economy as a whole, it is difficult to see where unions are making a big difference in the aggregate.
Total retail sales in 2020 were down about 2 percent from what we might have expected in the absence of the pandemic. Within the overall retailing category, however, there were major shifts.