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The Driving Forces of the Labor Shortage—And Why It Might Take Years to Resolve

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Labor + Trade Relations

The Driving Forces of the Labor Shortage—And Why It Might Take Years to Resolve

A waning workforce is impacting thousands of businesses across the US, and according to JP Morgan, the post-recession deficit just might stick around


December 8, 2021
Workers gathered at job
Image: Stock.adobe.com

Workers across the country have been quitting their jobs at near-record rates for the past six months, prompting a growing number of employers to increase wages in an effort to resolve mass shortages. Low employment trends are expected to continue into 2022 and perhaps even indefinitely, Insider reports.

One significant cause for the “great worker shortage” is a large share of Americans entering retirement, especially as more workers are opting to retire early. The pandemic itself is also keeping people out of the workforce, whether employees are contracting the virus itself or dealing with its many implications. 

Workers have been quitting at near-record rates for six months in a row. Employers say they're struggling to hire, so they're bumping up wages.

Now, shortages look like they'll stretch into the new year, and perhaps even indefinitely. In a note, JPMorgan chief global strategist David Kelly broke down three reasons that we've ended up in a "great worker shortage" — and why it means it could take years for shortages to resolve.

The pandemic itself has remained a huge driver for people to not return to work. As Kelly notes, the latest data release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that in November 1.2 million didn't look for work due to the pandemic — a number "little changed from October."

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