As a result of the shrinking workforce during the Covid-19 pandemic, with retirements, immigration restrictions, and long-term illnesses, requests for workers are increasing in the United States, including sellers, waiters, specialists and couriers.

Banners reading "Workers Wanted" were hung along roads, in front of restaurants or even on buses. Business owners are seeking to hire more people in light of the unbridled consumption of Americans, but it is difficult for them to find what they want.

About 10 million vacancies were available in June, according to the latest data in this regard, while the number of job seekers did not exceed 6 million.

A statement issued by the American Chamber of Commerce said, "We have a large number of jobs and an insufficient number of workers... and this shortage affects all sectors."

Many stopped working in the spring of 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic dealt a severe blow to the US economy. They have not returned to their jobs since.

And the Chamber of Commerce reported, "It was assumed that we would have had an additional 3.4 million people in the labor market... if the rate of market participation remained the same as before the pandemic."

Where did these go?

Many of them have retired, "the US population is getting older," Nick Bunker, a US labor market specialist and supervisor of economic research at Indeed, told AFP.

Baby boomers began withdrawing from the labor market before the Covid-19 pandemic, but "referrals to retirement accelerated" at the beginning of the health crisis, Diane Swonk, chief economist at KPMG, told AFP.

Millions of people chose to retire early, fearing for their health, taking advantage of the high stock prices in the stock market and real estate to conduct sales transactions and benefit from their savings.

It is unlikely that the workforce will return to pre-pandemic levels, due to the aging of the population,” says Nick Bunker.

This hypothesis is reinforced by the fact that "immigration is not at a sufficient rate to compensate for the baby boomers who are withdrawing from the market," according to Diane Swonk.

Immigration restrictions under Donald Trump have halved the number of arrivals between 2016 and 2019. Then the Covid-19 pandemic came to reduce most of their numbers, which in 2021 amounted to a quarter of what they were in 2016.

"The situation has recovered a little bit, but we are not yet at the levels that prevailed a few years ago," Nick Bunker said.

Among the reasons provided by the American Chamber of Commerce to explain the situation are “early retirement and declining immigration,” as well as the generous aid granted by the government during the pandemic, which “increased the revenues of some workers who no longer need to work.”

Women also stopped working in 2020 in large numbers, due to the closure of schools for a year and a half. Many of them did not return to work precisely because of the shortage of labor force in nurseries.

Diane Swonk referred to the "repercussions of the pandemic itself" with people who have contracted the virus or suffer from long-term Covid-19, "which is one of the problems that have not been assessed for truth and not analyzed properly and keep people away from the labor market."

This situation is exacerbated by the shortage of manpower, "which in turn complicates the search for work," according to the economist.

To confront this dilemma, it is necessary to attract people to the labor market on the one hand, and curb the excessive consumption of Americans on the other hand, so that companies do not have to hire so many people.

This shortage is expected to continue, but to diminish somewhat, as the measures taken to counter severe inflation lead to a slowdown in the economy and, consequently, employment.

Employees are taking advantage of the situation, with employers jostling for higher salaries and better working conditions.

This leads to an increase in the average salary in the private sector, which now amounts to $32.27 (an increase of 5.2% within a year), which in turn fuels inflation.

In July, the labor market in the United States rebounded with the compensation of 22 million jobs caused by the pandemic and unemployment declining to 3.5%.

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