| Hi Taylor:
I went to a Starbucks the other day and it was closed because
they "didn't have enough workers." When is this going to end? And
is it because of the unemployment benefits or something else? - Lisa
Hi Lisa: In my opinion, the labor shortage is an under-discussed
problem that's resulted from the pandemic. In many cases, people aren't
working because of the enhanced unemployment, but that's not the only
problem. Let's take a closer look:
It's not too hard to find someone who's not working because the
government check they're getting is more than what they'd make
at a minimum wage job. However, with those benefits expiring,
we're about to see how much that was actually holding people back.
We're also going to see some wage increases before the end of
the year. Starbucks is one of a few companies set to raise their
minimum wage and give pay bumps to all employees, which might
have an effect on future hiring issues. There's no doubt the stimulus
helped people who couldn't work while also motivating others to
stay out of the workplace, but that's hopefully about to end.
2. Delta. One way or another, COVID-19 continues to have
a huge impact. Sometimes it's government mandates keeping people
out of work, other times it's the virus itself putting people
on sick leave or forcing them to stay home as a personal precaution.
High-risk individuals who used to go work in cramped quarters
are understandably hesitant to go back to work. As the Delta surge
continues, we should expect to see staffing issues, especially
since a positive case can force so many people in proximity to
quarantine for at least a few days.
3. New normal. I keep reminding myself that things aren't
going back to the way they were, certainly not as fast as we'd
all like. We've been living through a once-in-a-generation pandemic
that upended everyone's lives, and some businesses won't come
back from that. Other companies will shift the way they operate,
and a whole lot of people will seek out a career change over the
next few months. This is not to say that we'll be dealing with
a labor shortage forever, but the recovery is ongoing and it's
important to remember that. Things will get better, we will get
through this, but it's going to happen one step at a time
with the occasional step backward.
| All things
considered, I'm hopeful the labor shortage will improve in the coming
months, which will be a nice economic lift and hopefully feed into
itself, creating even more jobs than before. Thanks for writing in!
© Taylor Kovar
September 6, 2021
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