Have you seen the ever-increasing number of help-wanted signs lately? The closed drive-thru lanes, abbreviated hours, overworked wait staff and slow service? Especially here in the Sunbelt, demand seems to be growing much faster than the workforce. The apparent “labor shortage” is making headlines, and – as expected – people disagree about why businesses can’t find employees. Many conservatives blame government unemployment assistance, while many liberals blame inadequate wages and working conditions. It’s probably a combination of both factors, and not listening to what each side has to say isn’t helping anyone.
Here in Florida, it’s very perplexing, as we see thousands of people arriving in the area every week, but somehow help wanted signs still stand. Everyone halted at the sight of the April jobs report, where we saw 266,000 jobs versus the expected million, and the labor force participation rate is still below pre-pandemic numbers. And voices abound, with commentators and thought leaders contributing to these overly simplistic explanations of why people aren’t going back to work.
***Co-authored with Hannah Buczek***
First published in The Hill. Read more here.
For more on the labor shortage, click here.