Since the first weeks of the summer, which confirmed the economic recovery after the pandemic before the great global traffic jam left its turbulence, US companies have been finding it difficult to fill all the vacant jobs. The supply of jobs exceeds the demand, especially in the less qualified trades with lower salaries, something to which the open tap of the federal government stimuli is not alien, with three rescue plans since March 2020 .
The September data confirm the bleeding of workers. More than 4.4 million Americans voluntarily quit their jobs that month, adding to a similar number (4.3 million) of voluntary layoffs in August, according to Labor Department statistics released Friday. This is the highest percentage of abandonment since this type of absenteeism began to be registered, two decades ago. Almost a million of the former workers worked in the leisure and hospitality sector, one of which has regained traction at a higher speed. However, companies added 531,000 jobs in October, a big improvement over the previous month and a sign of optimism amid the overheating of the economy, with inflation at record highs.
At the end of September there were 10.4 million job vacancies in the country, a figure slightly lower than in August, but still extraordinarily high for historical records. That is, approximately 75 unemployed workers for every 100 vacancies, the lowest proportion in the last two decades. Some sectors, such as transport, are particularly deficient, while employers are desperate to fill vacancies that allow them to overcome distribution problems due to the global bottleneck in supply chains. But it is not just truckers that are lacking, but also school bus drivers. Or supermarket cashiers: in the different branches of a department store of a well-known chain, in New York, it is common to find only three counters open out of the existing fortnight. Posters with job offers are visible in all areas, from small neighborhood hairdressers to large companies such as the Post Office.
Hiring was flat for the entire month of September, although data released last week indicates that job growth picked up in October but that the workforce barely grew, suggesting that hiring difficulties for employers continue.
The phenomenon offers a double reading. Many attribute to the injection of stimuli from the Government – liquidity via monthly checks – the lack of motivation of the workers and even the disincentive when looking for a job. Several states governed by Republicans already asked Washington in June to turn off the aid tap (unemployment benefits from the pandemic expired in early September). On the other hand, the increasing valuation of work – and the consequent empowerment of the worker – would explain an upward union mobilization.
After the conjunctural reasons that would cause the abandonment of the workers, according to the experts there are factors such as the care of the children, which complicates the return to work, especially of women; the lack of security in the face of covid-19 – reported for example in giants such as Amazon – and even the fear of infecting other members of the family at high risk. Many Americans have also accumulated savings during the pandemic, allowing them to choose, as well as consume at a hectic pace, excessive according to some experts.
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