Help (Still) Wanted

Help (Still) Wanted

There were nearly 11 million job openings in the US economy at the end of July, closely-watched data out Wednesday showed. The 10.9 million headline JOLTs print far exceeded estimates and marked another new series high. The increase from the last business day of June was nearly three-quarters of a million. Hires were essentially flat, at 6.7 million, leaving a new record-wide disparity with vacancies (figure below). The largest increases in job openings were in health care and social assist
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6 thoughts on “Help (Still) Wanted

  1. Another reason. excerpted from Bloomberg this morning. I recall that Goldman recently estimated that this dynamic explained about 25% of the drop in the labor participation rate.

    “How long do you plan to work? Americans say they’re increasingly unlikely to still be working deep into their 60s, New York Fed data show. The figures reinforce other research pointing to a wave of early retirements triggered by the pandemic—some due to a rethink about priorities and nest eggs boosted by juiced financial markets, but others driven by a lack of employment prospects.”

    As to pushing lazy bums off of the couch by curtailing benefits, the anecdotal evidence from states which terminated them earlier suggests the impact will be less than right-wingers would like you to believe.

  2. Seems like mostly burger flippers and computer programmers…..not much in the middle….very little business white collar jobs, other than sales, mostly om commission.

  3. I’m sure the contraction in commercial real estate space and all those vacant buildings suggest that all those amazing job opportunities being posted are in places other than places where jobs used to be? I live in a small PNW town and the amount of vacant buildings is stunning. The jobs in my area are tied to schools that have decreasing student populations, walmart, costco and 2 grocery chains, a very small handful of fast food places, a goodwill and several consignment places and then an invisible number of mom and pop businesses that are virtual. Beyond that, exploding home prices and a common theme of working people having no place to live. The concept of a living wage is a total joke for the vast majority of people here.

    At least a decade ago there were concerns that future labor shortages would become an issue, but that thinking didn’t foresee massive increases in home values. As more communities experience what I see now, it’s challenging to understand how things will go back to normal.

  4. I’ve spent the last few weeks traveling around various parts of California, Oregon and Washington.

    Labor shortages seem, if anything, more dire in the smaller towns. Fast food places are offering $15-18/hr but only have enough staff to keep the drive-through windows running.

    In general, the sit-down eating and drinking places I saw were shortstaffed and bustling with customers. That would be everything from local diners to resort restaurants. The servers are, I suspect, doing well financially even if they are harried. The back of house staff, traditionally not tip-receiving, may not be feeling so compensated.

    There are, surely, many factors in the reticence of labor. However, the scale of unemployment benefits relative to wages certainly has a lot to do with it. When I asked the folks who were at work why more people weren’t back at work with them, no-one mentioned Covid or childcare. Granted, there was no requirement for anyone to answer me accurately or completely, but the reasons they did gave me were always some version of financial factors.

    Most memorable to me was the night clerk at a hotel, who told me she made twice as much on unemployment than she did from her job, but had wanted to come back to work anyway.

    The end of enhanced UE benefits won’t immediately put people back to work. Standard UE benefits are still available, eligibility is hardly being checked, it takes time for jobs and workers to get matched, and many people – especially in the drinking and dining industry – have found other kinds of work, and may not return to serving or cooking. For those who want or need to work, 18 months is a long time to be on ice.

  5. There’s a work comp stat, after 6 months off work, chances of returning a worker to work in any capacity is less than 50%. I can’t find the actual stat for being off greater than one year, but recall from several seminars, it’s around 1% chance of returning the worker to work.

    I spent some time working at a work comp work hardening rehab. We had a time clock for clients. They had to clock in at 8 and complete their “shift”. We had a psychologist on staff along with PT, OT and MSW. My take-away from my time there was that psychological barriers to returning those clients to work were usually greater than the physical barriers

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