Investigating causes of the ongoing ‘labor shortage’

Politics

UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR) – In New York and across the nation, businesses are experiencing staffing shortages. Pritha Chaudhuri, assistant professor of economics at Hamilton College discusses why these labor deficiencies are happening.

“Things have changed drastically since COVID-19 hit,” said Chadhuri. “One reason is there were a lot of jobs that were lost, but also people have readjusted their preferences, what would they accept in terms of benefits. Not just starting bonuses, but even the benefits the jobs provide, which is why I think there are certain industries that are having a hard time hiring.”

Overall, Chaudhuri says that due to the increase in worry brought on by the pandemic, more people are shifting to jobs where they do not come in contact with people, or where they can stay home with their families. Professor Chaudhuri explains that the unemployment benefits were apart of the reason for the shortage. However, now that these benefits have stopped there are other factors that have made an impact.

“There are a lot of things that now people realize they can just do online, jobs that have kind of switched things online,” said Chaudhuri. “There are alternatives to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s still there. People are still getting sick. The virus keeps changing. But now people can say, ‘That’s a very risky job!'”

How do we entice people to come back to work? “One thing that we keep saying is raise the minimum wage, which is something New York State has done,” said Chaudhuri. “The other thing is the benefits you’re going to get. I know there are jobs that are thinking of providing starting bonuses to people, but you know, retirement benefits. Health care benefits.”

Professor Chaudhuri says that this will have an impact on the economy because the structure of the market itself has shifted due to a large number of businesses offering similar options to employees.

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