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Vacancies in USA: worker resignations – USA – International

When the flow of customers to the Pineapple Grill family restaurant in Texas increased, Pomai Uyehara found himself in dire straits: He couldn’t get enough workers.

It was then that it occurred to him to offer a bonus of US $ 300 for the chef position and one of US $ 150 for the waiters, in addition to other monetary incentives according to job performance.

Those same kinds of offers to attract employees are everywhere.

Not only have they had to raise salaries, but also companies are offering college fees, health insurance, more flexible hours, bonuses and even money just for attending an interview.

It’s that as the economic recovery progresses, businesses need more workers.

So much so that job openings in June hit a record 10.1 million, according to Labor Department figures.

Those with the greatest labor urgency are restaurants, hotels, food chains, supermarkets, retail businesses, and the entertainment industry.

Goodbye to the old job

At 21, Addison Bueide says she will not return to her job as a waitress at a private club in the city of Austin.

“The pandemic was really tough, especially since my bosses didn’t take wearing masks very seriously and let people go without them.”

Like her, there are many other people whose trade forces them to work indoors or in permanent contact with clients, leaving them exposed to a higher level of contagion.

And as now the delta variant of the coronavirus has caused a rebound in cases in the country, the labor market is moving in quite unpredictable terrain.

“All my employees are working 6 or 7 days a week because we lack staff,” Carlos Gazitua, president of the Sergio’s restaurant chain in Florida, told BBC Mundo.

He is paying the dishwashers he has managed to hire for his restaurant kitchens $ 19 an hour, when before the pandemic, employees with that function used to earn no more than $ 12.

The phenomenon has the authorities with the radar on.

“We are now lagging behind our peers in labor force participation, which is not where we want to be as a country,” Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said at a Senate banking committee hearing in mid-July.

“We need to work as a society to make sure that people find their way back into the workforce.”

At the center of the debate on the reasons that explain the phenomenon are two main positions.

Those who believe that people do not want to work because they prefer to live on the social benefits that the government provides to the unemployed as a result of the pandemic (US $ 300 a week).

And those who argue that the issue is much more complex.

Although most of the job vacancies are those that have traditionally paid the lowest wages, certainly the shortage of workers has permeated broader sectors of society.

Precisely because it is not a homogeneous mass of people, the reasons for understanding this phenomenon are as different as the people who are experiencing it.

These are some of the keys behind the pronounced shortage of employees in the United States, according to experts consulted by BBC Mundo.

1. Wages and working conditions

With so many vacancies available, workers are clear that this is the time to get a better salary for the same type of work they did before.

Although there is no federal law that establishes a minimum pay of US $ 15 an hour, more and more companies are approaching that threshold due to the lack of workforce.

But money is not everything.

“The shortage is mainly due to the fact that workers do not want to return to workplaces where they do not respect them, do not provide them with security, do not give them any benefits and pay them low wages,” Victor Narro, Project Director, tells BBC Mundo and professor at the Center for Labor Studies at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).

“This has more to do with a shortage of good jobs than a shortage of workers.”

2. Unemployment benefits

Many employers claim that they cannot fill their vacancies because the US $ 300 that an unemployed person receives a week as a benefit from the government to face the pandemic encourages them to live on social assistance instead of working.

That is why some Republican states have begun to stop benefit payments in order to encourage return to work.

As it is a recent measure, there is still no data to assess the effects of this policy in recent weeks.

However, a study carried out by the economists of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Nicolas Petrosky-Nadeau and Robert G. Valletta, indicates that the aid provided since last year has had a minimal deterrent effect on the job search , except in the lowest paid positions (US $ 11.12 per hour), such as food services.

Beyond the political debate generated by the issue of social assistance, most economists agree that it is one of the factors at play.

“It cannot be ignored that the benefits have contributed, although it is also true that the perception of risk about the pandemic or the situation of childcare influences,” says Timothy Bond, professor of the Department of Economics at Purdue University in dialogue with BBC Mundo.

3. Child care

The lack of an adequate child care network is one of the reasons mentioned by all the experts when it comes to solving the puzzle of absent workers.

“Physical distancing completely disrupted routines and structures, closing schools and nurseries. This limited childcare options,” Kent Mahoney, executive vice president of analysis and consulting firm Proxima, told BBC Mundo.

Many women left the workforce and have not been reintegrated.

In June their labor force participation reached 56.2%, well below the 60% they used to have in the last two decades.

Unlike other countries in the developed world, the US does not have a child care system with extensive tax subsidies.

It is expected that when the school year begins in late August or early September, more women will return to employment, provided that the delta variant does not change the current health situation too much.

4. Fear of contagion

The concern about new infections in industries where employees are more exposed such as restaurants, hotels and other services related to tourism and entertainment, makes many do not want to return to their old jobs.

Things have become even more complicated now that the delta variant is expanding across the country and there have been more infections in children than in previous months.

Many employees who feel that they did not receive the necessary protective measures during the first waves of the pandemic do not want to return to their old jobs.

On the other hand, if pay and working conditions are not attractive enough, there are unemployed people who would rather lose their income than get infected.

5. A desire for greater work flexibility

Those professionals whose physical presence is not essential to the type of work they do are expressing their desire for greater work flexibility.

Although many of the large companies planned to return to the work system from the office, things have not been so easy.

The pandemic showed many employees that they could do their work from home and now, that the time has come to return, some prefer to look for a job elsewhere that gives them greater flexibility.

That is, a company that allows teleworking or the hybrid work system, where employees must attend the office only a few days a week.

It is that the gigantic changes that society has undergone with the pandemic have also generated other transformations.

Some, by spending more time at home, have changed their priorities and are looking for jobs that allow them to spend more time with the family, Anthony Klotz, associate professor of management at the Mays School of Business at Texas A&M University, told BBC Mundo.

And others have made the decision to venture to change their field or start a venture.

6. Retirement boom

The working-age population, defined as those between the ages of 15 and 64, declined in 2019 for the first time in decades, then fell again last year.

Retirements for so-called baby boomers (those born after World War II) doubled in 2020 from the previous year, according to an analysis by the Pew Research Center.

Some decided to retire earlier than planned because they had lost their jobs and saw little prospect of getting a new one. Or because they didn’t want to be exposed to the virus in high-risk work conditions.

And a smaller segment decided to retire earlier than planned, taking advantage of the good performance of investments in the stock market or the sale of their houses.

The problem with early retirement from the workforce is that the economy loses highly experienced skilled workers, something difficult to fill quickly.

However, for some economists this is not such a crucial factor.

“Retirements could reinforce the feeling of scarcity, although automation will alleviate it,” Harry Holzer, professor of Public Policy at Georgetown University, tells BBC Mundo.

So many elements are at stake when deciphering the mystery of the worker shortage that Holzer warns that there is not yet the necessary evidence to know which of all the causes has more weight or for how long this situation could extend.

These keys are also compounded by other causes that may help explain the phenomenon, such as the lack of skills required for certain types of jobs, the frustration and exhaustion of those who experienced too much workload during the pandemic, and a 30% increase in employment. Overdose deaths in 2020 amid the opioid crisis.

Economic problems, isolation and difficulty in accessing health services contributed to this situation worsening and, some studies indicate that the higher the levels of addiction, the lower the permanence of young people in the workforce.

What does history tell us?

From a historical perspective, Guido Menzio, a professor in the Department of Economics at New York University and an associate researcher at the National Office for Economic Research (NBER), argues that this is not the first time that a situation with these characteristics.

“It is not an exclusive phenomenon of the current (economic) recovery, but of the most recent recoveries,” he tells BBC Mundo, such as those that occurred after the 1991 recession or the 2008-2009 recession.

According to their research, a constant cause of job shortages after a recession is that there is a group of workers (about 15% of the workforce) that is disproportionately affected by the economic situation.

For this group, Menzio explains, “the process of reincorporation to employment is slow and full of setbacks.”

For now, the future of the job market continues to tread rocky terrain.

“The highly contagious delta variant casts a shadow over the recovery of the labor market in the coming months, threatening to delay the return of workers who are still on the sidelines due to child care or health problems,” he said a few months ago. days Kathy Bostjancic, chief financial economist at Oxford Economics in the US.

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BBC-NEWS-SRC: https://www.bbc.com/mundo/noticias-58181006, IMPORTING DATE: 2021-08-23 17:00:09

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