As more Americans become vaccinated and economic sectors increasingly reopen, the country is facing a startling conundrum— unemployment is high, but many industries cannot find workers.
Restaurants, manufacturing and construction are the sectors most affected, though it's a phenomenon seen across many professions. The shortage is in part due to worker’s fears around contracting or spreading COVID-19, particularly in workplaces that might call for sharing confined spaces with many people. Though vaccines are incredibly effective against the virus, the scale of loss Americans have endured over the course of the pandemic has left many hesitant to return to work if they don’t have to. But part of the gap in hiring is also due to the myriad workforce shakeups that the pandemic prompted— including low-wage workers switching careers, more parents staying at home in the absence of childcare and older Americans opting for early retirement. Without robust hiring, many industries might see slowdowns, which could jeopardize an otherwise strong economic recovery.
Today on AirTalk, we’re learning more about why some industries are having difficulty hiring new workers. Have you decided to switch industries or not go back to work after the pandemic? We want to hear from you! Give us a call at 866-893-5722.
Eugene Cornelius, Jr., senior director of the Center for Regional Economics and California Center at The Milken Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan economic think tank; he has held several public service positions, most recently as senior advisor to the Office of International Trade in the U.S. Small Business Administration