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Tags: Coronavirus | workers | shortage | covid | barclays

Economists: Worker Shortage May Not Last Long

now hiring sign in window
(Mario Tama/Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 19 November 2021 09:00 AM

The "Great Resignation," in which millions of Americans quit their jobs, may not last long, economists say.

In just September, the most recent month for which data is available, more than 4.4 million workers left the jobs.

Much of the attention has been focused on workers demanding higher pay and better job conditions, according to CNBC.

But economists at Barclays theorize the resignations are sparked by workers’ worries over COVID-19-related issues that will likely be reduced in the coming months.

And Labor Department data reveals that while workers resigned in record numbers, nearly 6.5 million people were hired in September — more than 2 million more than those who left their jobs.

"We believe that this resignation dynamic is mostly a symptom of other underlying forces that are affecting labor market participation, rather than a cause," Barclays economist Jonathan Millar and others wrote in an analysis.

"Indeed, the high quit rate is a red herring for understanding the sluggish return of workers to the U.S labor market following the COVID-19 pandemic, in our view. Instead, the true cause is a hesitation of workers to return to the labor force due to influences tied to the pandemic such as infection risks, infection-related illness, and a lack of affordable childcare."

Barclays noted the decline in labor force participation is linked almost exclusively to married people living with a spouse who left the labor force sometime in late summer of 2020 and did not come back, according to CNBC.

"This general profile itself gives us reason to believe that many of the missing workers will gradually transition back to work," the firm said. "This is supported by survey evidence from other sources suggesting that COVID-related considerations — such as infection risks, illnesses, and pandemic income supports — remain important contributors to ongoing participation hesitancy."

But the difficulty in finding employees could force business owners to turn more to automation, CNBC reported.

North American companies are ordering robotic "workers" in record numbers to alleviate the continuing labor shortage in hopes of keeping their operations competitive, according to a trade group involved in the robotic industry.

"With labor shortages throughout manufacturing, logistics, and virtually every industry, companies of all sizes are increasingly turning to robotics and automation to stay productive and competitive," said Jeff Burnstein, president of the Association for Advancing Automation, a trade group that represents organizations working with robotics, artificial intelligence, and other technologies, USA Today reported.

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The "Great Resignation," in which millions of Americans quit their jobs, may not last long, economists say. In just September, more than 4.4 million workers left the jobs. Much of the attention has...
workers, shortage, covid, barclays
402
2021-00-19
Friday, 19 November 2021 09:00 AM
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