Facing Unprecedented Challenges, America’s Labor Shortage

At the height of the pandemic, more than 120,000 firms were forced to close temporarily, and more than 30 million Americans were out of work. Since then, job openings have consistently expanded as unemployment has gradually decreased. In total, employers added a record 3.8 million employees in 2021. However, millions of Americans have quit the labor force since the pandemic began. More than three million fewer Americans are working today than in February 2020. Currently, the labor force participation rate stands at 62,2%, down from 63,3% in January 2020. It is evident that capable workers are being disregarded or ignored. However, there is no single reason employees are on strike; instead, a combination of variables has led to the ongoing labor crisis.

During the outbreak, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce polled unemployed workers to find out what prevented them from finding new work. Nearly a third of women (33 percent) said that the requirement to care for children or other family members has made returning to work difficult or impossible. According to the survey, 28 percent of males said their industry was still suffering and that there were not enough excellent positions available for those who had been laid off.