Help-wanted signs are easy to find in the United States today, and business owners have been lamenting that they can't find anyone to work for more than a year, industry insiders say.
On Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., gave his own analysis on the labor shortage at an event in Paducah, Kentucky.
"You've got a whole lot of people sitting on the sidelines because, frankly, they're flush for the moment," McConnell said, according to Insider. "What we've got to hope is, once they run out of money, they'll start concluding it's better to work than not to work."
Several federal rescue packages allowed many Americans to grow their savings during the COVID-19 pandemic, and households built up an extra $2.6 trillion in total from the beginning of the pandemic through the end of last year, according to estimates from Moody's Analytics.
Following two stimulus packages approved by the Trump administration, President Joe Biden's stimulus package passed with only Democrat votes in March 2021. Republicans have frequently blamed Biden's $1,400 direct payment to Americans for making inflation worse and keeping people home and out of the workforce.
According to Insider, economists have identified a number of reasons for the labor shortage, from people moving away from areas with open positions to parents being unable to return to work amid pandemic uncertainty to open positions not being the right fit for people looking to switch jobs.
Experts offer possible solutions, including businesses offering higher wages and more flexible workplaces and modifying job descriptions and requirements to increase the number of qualified applicants.
The labor market has almost fully recovered, and data from the St. Louis Federal Reserve shows that the employment-population ratio for Americans ages 25-54 has climbed above July 2019 levels. Unemployment is currently at a notable low of 3.6%, according to Insider.
Americans have been quitting their jobs at near-record rates over the past two years, but hiring remains strong and job openings plentiful. This indicates that many people are quitting their current jobs for higher-paying ones, particularly in low-wage jobs and the service industry.
The Great Resignation centered on McConnell's home state of Kentucky for a short period of time. The number of workers leaving the workforce was driven by conditions that existed prior to the pandemic and were made worse by COVID-19, including lack of affordable childcare and low minimum wage.
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