According to the Wall Street Journal, companies cite several reasons for the struggle to lure Americans back to work, including fear of becoming sick with or spreading Covid-19, lack of child care and enhanced unemployment benefits that exceed what they would be making at available jobs. Business owners said unemployment benefits and a lack of applicants with the right skills are among the factors keeping them from filling jobs.
Vistage survey cites, 62% of businesses that have had trouble hiring said that in response, they are boosting wages for employees and working on developing their existing workforces. Fifty-nine percent said they were refining their recruiting strategies, and just under a third said they were allowing staff to work remotely.
Unique Challenges of the Current Job Market
Rising vaccination rates, easing lockdowns and enormous amounts of federal stimulus aid are improving the job market. Yet employers in sectors like manufacturing, industrial, restaurants and construction are struggling to find workers. There are more job openings in the U.S. this spring than before the pandemic hit in March 2020, and fewer people in the labor force, according to the Labor Department and private recruiting sites.
Competing with the Goverment
Those receiving jobless benefits get an additional $300 a week on top of regular state benefits, which average $318 a week, according to the Labor Department. That means the average unemployment recipient earns better than the equivalent of working full time at $15 an hour. The good news for the CA job market: this is scheduled to end in September.
The Childcare Struggle
Only 60% of the 200 largest U.S. school districts were fully reopened the month of May, according to Georgetown University’s FutureEd think tank, and many child-care centers continue to operate at reduced capacity.
A Workforce Shortage
More than 16.1 million people received unemployment benefits the week that ended May 15, according to the Labor Department. That includes gig workers and the self-employed who are typically not eligible for such payments.
Light at the End of the Tunnel
A new survey conducted by the Prosper Insights & Analytics points to the challenges that employers may face as they try to get their employees to return to the workplace and try to hire more staff.
- Nearly half of employed consumers surveyed said they need to get a Covid-19 vaccination before feeling comfortable working around others, followed by 35% who said co-workers would need to be vaccinated, too.
- Although a direct correlation has not been found yet, most businesses owners agree that continued unemployment benefits combined with lack of child care is contributing to the worker shortage.
- The good news is that the extra unemployment benefits are scheduled to end in September.
As employers work through the continuous challenges today, many companies are seeing a large improvement on employee retention by raising wages, offering bonuses, and better benefits. Business Insider reports that many major firms who increased hourly rates were able to get through the pandemic in better shape by investing in their employees.