Future of work

Now hiring: Ex-cons, drug users, and indebted grads

Illustration of a classified ads page in a paper with every job post circled.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The job search just got a little bit sweeter. 10% of small businesses this past quarter have offered — for the first time — to repay a part of student loans, relax drug policies or hire ex-cons, according to the latest CNBC and SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey. Reeling from the 3.7% unemployment rate, businesses large and small have also raised wages and benefits.

The big picture: To fill a whopping 7.1 million job openings the tightest labor market in a half-century, employers are loosening their requirements and raising traditional benefits to lure workers.

The problem with work

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

For the last several years, some of the world's leading thinkers have fretted over robots and artificial intelligence, with one particular worry — whether jobs across the U.S. and the rest of the advanced economies are going to be wiped out.

The big picture: As of now, no one truly knows what will happen, but everyone agrees on one point — that something is substantially broken when it comes to work. Most Americans have not received a real wage increase in decades, one-third of working-age people are not part of the labor force at all, and the education system seems divorced from the future economy.

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