As the COVID-19 crisis progressed, more employees were laid off and employers had a harder time finding people willing to return to work.
- Across the country, businesses are posting fliers announcing job vacancies due to the high demand for workers.
- Economists say this is a sign that the economy is headed in the right direction, but the downside is that employers are having a hard time filling vacancies. This has made it harder for businesses to keep up with consumer demand.
What happened during the pandemic?
- The pandemic resulted in a number of economic problems that caused a variety of businesses to shut down and millions to become unemployed.
- The coronavirus’s impact on the economy was largely unprecedented, matched only by the Great Depression of the 1930s.
- Early in the crisis, many economists and employers expressed hope that, with the help of the government, employment would quickly return to pre-pandemic levels.
- But as the COVID-19 crisis progressed, more employees were laid off and employers had a harder time finding people willing to return to work.
Why are employers struggling to hire now?
- Even with around 10 million people still unemployed and over 44% of Americans having received at least one dose of the vaccine, employers are still struggling to find employees.
- In March this year, The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) conducted a survey using its members as the main subjects and discovered that about 42% of business owners had job openings they couldn’t fill.
- Many business owners said higher unemployment benefits as one of the main reasons why people weren’t returning to work.
- Companies whose employees work inside homes – such as plumbers and contractors – also found that many employees are reluctant to take on new work because they are afraid of catching COVID-19.
- While the signs of an economic rebound are giving many people hope, there are still many obstacles left to overcome before the US can fully return to business as usual.
Where to now?
- Labor economist Julia Pollak, who works at ZipRecruiter, an employment recruitment site, told NPR that a mismatch in the number of jobs being posted and the number of jobs currently in demand is largely contributing to the slow recovery.
- “There’s this huge gap between the kinds of conditions under which people are prepared to work and the kinds of conditions that they actually find in the jobs that are available.”
- Pollak went on to explain that “There are many, many people who have pulled back and are deciding to sort of wait out this year and come back to work when the conditions are right."
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