The September Jobs Report ReleasedThe Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), showed that August’s disappointing job increase was not an accident. We should treat every data point with caution in an age of rush reporting and political talking points. But, it is possible that there might be a trend, and we should pay more attention to this.
We don’t know why, but the labor market could be heading towards slower growth due to a shortage of workers.
The most important problem facing the labor market is the return of workers to the workforce—or the lack thereof. Businesses are seeking record numbers of workers, according to BLS’s most recent Labor Turnover Survey and BLS Job Openings. 10.9 MioJobs for July This astonishing figure is 44 percent higherIt’s also better than the prepandemic record. This also applies to 8.7 MillionIn July, workers were considered officially unemployed. This number fell to below 7.7 million in September.
This is the root of the problem. There are many differences between the current labor market and that of pre-pandemic. 3.1 million fewerPeople who are currently employed. However, a pre-pandemic analogy is not accurate as it does not include older workers retiring or younger workers entering the workforce in the past 19 months. Trends in the pre-pandemic periodThis would suggest that the workforce is approximately 5.75million more than it is currently.
COVID-19’s labor market shock is something we can not ignore. The pandemic appears to have motivated many older workers to choose earlier-than-anticipated retirements (and who could blame them?). Initial data indicated that there was a A surge in retirementsAnd in April 2020 Later analysisAccording to estimates, 1.75 millionBLS surveys revealed that more retirees were identified than was predicted by the pre-pandemic trend.
Consider that 4 million people are working in the labor force, which is less than what it would be if they were all employed. These workers would have to be actively searching for jobs, and so they would count as having been unemployed. The unemployment rate currently stands at 7.1 percent.
The large drop in the Unemployment rateBetween August and September (5.2% to 4.8%), with an almost unchanged rate labor force participation rateIt is clear that this should be a cause of concern. The reason that workers aren’t returning to the workforce is not clear, even though the main reasons have diminished.
Many unemployed workers fear COVID-19, which is the most common reason for their inhibition. The rationale for this is becoming more plausible with the availability of effective and free vaccines to teenagers and adults. Shots to boost your energyFor those who are at greater risk, they may be available now. Although fears were heightened by the discovery of the delta variant, the effects on the population are not well understood. This is despite the fact that many people who haven’t been vaccinated don’t seem particularly worried about it.
Lack of remote education and child care was second most commonly cited as a reason workers are still unemployed. However, most schools have restored in-person instruction, with the exception of New York City’s largest. The remote learning option was not offeredClasses resumed mid-September. In actuality, The majority of school districts have a high percentage of students.Last spring, they already offer in-person classes.
NYC’s initial week of school in person coincided with the September BLS jobs data collection. It is possible that workers might have had difficulty returning to work because they were not able to attend late-starting schools. This rationale is losing its validity over time. The lack of childcare as a constraint to caregivers’ return into the workforce must be addressed.
The generous spirit of Federally extended unemployment insurance(U.I. The third possible mechanism to prevent a return of the workforce is called the U.I. This fact is so obvious that it provokes aggressive behavior refutationSome policy experts and pundits argue that these two arguments are more significant than the others.
This fire is fueled by the increased U.I. in September’s jobs reports. The data collection was completed a week ago. According to the pro-U.I., there was no rebound in employment growth. According to pundits, this shows that workers aren’t discouraged by the economic benefits.
We face an actual dilemma if that is true. All of our best explanations as to why the workforce hasn’t returned to pre-pandemic levels would be invalidated. But we should not be quick to dismiss the U.I.-based explanation.
Federally Expanded U.I. Programs are well-known for their federally expanded U.I. Prior income exceededThere are many jobs for workers. There are many stories to tell.Workers save money to fund their retirement. It is a smart strategy. Keep your hands offYou should look for high-quality jobs rather than accepting the first job opportunity that presents itself.
While all of the arguments may still apply, federally expanding U.I. is less attractive than it seems. The federal programs have ended, but the benefits appear to still be having the greatest impact.
The question is now how long it will take the missing 4 million workers to feel sufficiently motivated to return to the workforce. I fear that the combination of labor shortages and customer demands could drive employers to move faster to implement automation and other labor-saving technology. The last remaining unemployed could discover that their jobs are gone. This is a classic example of the “early bird” being correct.
We should also consider that perhaps the economy has entered a completely new paradigm—one in which a subset of workers have discovered that they can get by on very little, and who view lots of leisure time as a sufficient tradeoff. Remember that preferences and markets are constantly changing.
No one is able to pinpoint the reason for slow workforce growth or the source of all “missing workers”. As more data becomes available, we need to be vigilant. We must remember that the future is coming one day at time.