Companies of every size in every industry are facing a cascade of staffing problems. They simply can’t find the workers to fill open jobs. While there are many people who simply haven’t returned to work, there are currently more jobs available than there are workers. The US chamber of commerce reported in May that there were 6 million unemployed workers, but 11.4 million openings. Filling these openings would mean that there were still 5.4 million positions open.
At the height of the pandemic, more than 120,000 businesses temporarily closed, and more than 30 million U.S. workers were unemployed. Since then, job openings have steadily increased since January 2020, while unemployment has slowly declined.
Overall, in 2021, employers ended up adding an unprecedented 3.8 million jobs. But at the same time, millions of Americans have left the labor force since before the pandemic. In fact, we have more than two million fewer Americans participating in the labor force today compared to February of 2020.
Why Is There a Labor Shortage?
- Americans Saved a Lot of Money
- Older Workers Retiring Early
- New Businesses and Freelancing
- Covid Fears
- Education and Training
- Need for Childcare
Covid had a huge impact that historians will be studying for decades. Lockdowns shifted office employees to work from home. Without the need to commute or the ability to spend money on outside entertainment or travel, these workers saved an unprecedented $4 trillion. They also received government stimulus packages and tax breaks.
This would allow many to quit their jobs and pursue education or training for new careers. Others would take the opportunity to start their own businesses or rustle up a steady stream of contract work from their own homes. Older Americans, perhaps frustrated with working from home, retired early.
On the other hand, the Pandemic made it almost impossible for working parents to find affordable childcare, and schools switched to distance learning. Two-income families had to sacrifice a job to support their children. Most of the workers staying home are women, reducing the number of women in the workforce to levels not seen since the 1970s.
And then there’s the simple fact that Covid genuinely frightened some workers enough to keep them from returning to the office once lockdowns had been lifted.
The Enterprise Response
Major corporations and even government entities had to respond quickly to adapt to the changes. Experts estimate that the pandemic accelerated “digital transformation” by about 7 years. One aspect of digital transformation is the use of Data Processing Automation (DPA) and AI to streamline human workflows.
And despite fears that automation would replace human workers, the gap between open jobs and available workers is still incredibly large, favoring workers.
The same technology is now available to small and medium-sized businesses through companies like DatCom, and there’s never been a better time for these businesses to adapt their office technology to post-pandemic life. Add to this a 41-year inflation high and economic uncertainty, and there’s no reason not to learn more about DatCom’s unique set of business efficiency services.