The American economy has started roaring back to life, judging from the back-to-normal Index. More and more states have begun relaxing the Covid-19 restrictions as many Americans get vaccinated.
However, there are fewer workers to meet this increased demand. Corporates such as Lyft and Uber have started issuing incentives to attract workers back on the road. Factories have half a million new job openings, but fewer workers are joining the sector.
Workers shortage is happening at a time when the demand for products is skyrocketing as the nation reopens from the pandemic. The manufacturing industry has reported a shortage of skilled workers for certain specialized roles and entry-level positions that don’t need expertise.
Although talent shortage is not something new in the US, the present shortage has gone beyond the manufacturing sector. In a letter, the 7-Eleven franchise owners said they feel the squeeze and can’t resume the 24-hour operations because there are fewer workers to fill the available job openings. Further, the present wages are too high, making it unsafe and impossible to operate longer hours.
The more than 9,300 7-Eleven stores reduced their operating hours due to reduced staff and sales earlier in the pandemic. However, corporate owners want these chains to open 24 hours a day.
They are facing “the crippling labor shortage, higher operating costs, lower gross margin, and lower net profit,” making it hard for the stores to pay “a clerk to work that shift.”
Other businesses across the country are also desperate to hire service personnel and front-line clerks even as the vaccination campaigns continue and states lift restrictions, increasing the demand for products and services.
Nearly 40 percent of businesses across the nation are not able to fill positions because of reduced lower-wage workers. Some of these workers have opted for early retirement in order to take care of their family or supervise their children engaged in online schooling, while others are keeping off due to Covid-19 concerns.
In the travel and tourism sector, its employees are already stretched to their limit. The airlines are recovering, and workers have to work double shifts. Most major airlines in the US have been relying on the $55 billion payroll support program to stay afloat. However, they now need more workers as they add more routes and head towards the summer, where they expect a higher travel demand.
Another major reason is the stimulus checks and competitive unemployment benefits of $300 a week, making the less than $16 per hour entry-level jobs unappealing. As a result, some businesses have agreed to offer hundreds of dollars bonuses to attract workers.
Employers also hope that labor shortages will reduce as the pandemic conditions improve across the world. The continued vaccine rollout will increase workers’ availability and stabilize wages to allow businesses to resume their 24 hours operation like before the Covid-19 pandemic.
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