A group of leading economists released a landmark report Tuesday suggesting the extinction of all life on Earth could affect the U.S. labor market.
The report, issued by the Economics Policy Institute, warns that a mass extinction on the level of the Permian-Triassic event some 250 million years ago will impact wages, commodities, and could lead to the disappearance of an already shrinking middle class.
“Without historical data, our models can’t predict what the labor impact might be in such a scenario,” said John Froedman, the Institute’s spokesperson. “But we have faith that markets will self-correct as problems arise, and this could cause worry among employers.”
Near-term employment gains are expected in the large-scale human-corpse-disposal industry, as well as an uptick in solitary desert travel and services focused on rummaging through landfills for salvaged consumer goods. Demand for rusty old shopping carts is likely to grow, offsetting losses in the more vulnerable clean-bandage market. Ultimately, however, Froedman predicts that as the work force is reduced to a small group of roving, radioactive marauders, “the strain on the economy could match the subprime mortgage crisis of 2007.”
The drop in tax revenue from employment losses is also expected to put the future of social security in jeopardy, and advisors stress the importance of saving for retirement as hyperinflation raises the black-market prices of potable water, slaves, and rat meat.
“Eventually, we’ll see a pull away from jobs like IT consultant, social media director, tennis instructor, or hotel concierge, and employees will have to adapt to meet the needs of an evolving labor market,” said Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta. “Tribal warlords will be looking for a much more diverse set of skills in potential employees.” Acosta listed hand-to-hand mortal combat, the ability to ferment urine to make pruno, and sawing limbs off captives and then cooking the flesh among those professional job skills most likely to attract attention on resumes.
Analysts point to bright spots in the report, including record low levels of consumer debt and an unemployment rate projected to reach 0% among all age groups, due almost entirely to a contraction in the labor force as the last humans adopt a feudal economy in which even children and the elderly flood the makeshift-rape-camp sector.
NY Fed President William C. Dudley called the unemployment rate projection a sign that the economy is moving in the right direction and leaves the Fed on target for an October rate hike.