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Recent U.S. Chamber of Commerce Poll Suggests Labor Shortage Will Continue

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A recent poll from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce found that many U.S. workers are not actively looking for work, exasperating the labor shortage. These individuals also may not return to the workforce until mid-year, suggesting ongoing labor shortages are far from over. The poll conducted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce found that one in five reported they are not looking for work.

Time to Wait

Fifty-six percent of those surveyed said they will be able to get by without working for another six months before it is economically necessary to return to full-time work. Eleven percent said it will be more than a year before they need to return to work and 15% said a return to work will not be essential.

Those not yet looking for work shared they are using a combination of income sources. From other members of their household (45%), stimulus payments (48%), savings (47%) and unemployment benefits (36%). At least one-third of survey respondents disagreed with the statement “it is essential to return to a full-time job as soon as possible.”

Open Jobs Versus Quit Rate

As of early December 2021, the country had an estimated 10.4 million open jobs. This is coupled with a quit rate of three percent in September, an all-time high. Quit rates were highest in accommodation and food service (6.6%) and in the arts, entertainment, and recreation service (5.7%). State-wide, Vermont (-4.7%), Nevada (-3.8%) and Connecticut (-3.4%) had the greatest drop in labor force participation.

Other stats from the poll found that 13% have left multiple jobs during the pandemic with 57% holding the most recent position less than three months. 32% of unemployed workers would prefer to work in a different industry for their next position.

Action Needed

At the end of 2021, there were 2.3 million fewer people in the workforce than in October 2019, prior to the pandemic.

“Every day, we see more evidence of a worsening worker shortage,” said Suzanne P. Clark, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO. “With businesses across the country and in every industry struggling to find workers, it is deeply concerning that 35% of the unemployed say they are not very active in looking for work or not looking at all. Policymakers at every level of government must act with urgency to get people back to work and help accelerate the economic recovery.”