When will U.S. employment dynamics change?

Looking around most every community, it doesn’t take long to realize just how many businesses are looking to hire workers.  “Help Wanted” signs are everywhere, and various signing incentives are being offered to entice new employees as never before.

But in many cases the offers of employment are falling on pretty deaf ears. A recent survey of workers conducted by the Indeed employment website reveals that although many people are ostensibly in the market for new jobs, oftentimes the sense of urgency about landing a position simply isn’t there.

The Indeed survey was administered to ~5,000 Americans age 18 to 64 during the summer of 2021.  The sample encompassed individuals in and out of the labor force.

The results of the survey revealed that many of the unemployed respondents don’t feel that they need to land a job right away — but they do express an interest in returning to work at some future point.  The three main factors that appear to be holding people back from returning to work are these:

  • Concerns about the COVID-19 virus and its variants
  • Financial cushions, including employed spouses and the continued availability of enhanced unemployment insurance benefits
  • Care responsibilities at home — particularly involving school-age children

The net effect is that while many employers are making a major push to hire workers in order to take advantage of the reopened economy, many would-be employees simply don’t feel the same sense of urgency.

With the continuing questions surrounding the spread of Delta and other variants of COVID, what was once considered the near-certainty of a “return to normalcy” in the latter part of 2021 hasn’t quite turned out that way.

At this point, it would seem that the employment dynamics aren’t going to change dramatically until the unemployment compensation safety net reverts to its pre-pandemic structure … kids are back in school without the risk of future quarantines or class closures … and no new variants emerge that cause the number of COVID cases to spike again.

Considering what the past 18 months have been like, getting these three factors to neatly align may be a tall order.

For detailed survey results, you can access the Indeed research via this link.

One thought on “When will U.S. employment dynamics change?

  1. The pandemic has done more than frighten us. It’s made us aware that “normal work” has an idiotic dimension we never dared question before: the office commute.

    Why, when computers capable of enabling home work have been around for 20 years, had we still been traveling hours each day back and forth to a place called an office which clearly no longer needed us most of the time? We started asking.

    In the past, a lemming-like grey-faced rush to work and its grim exhausted aftermath coming home made questioning this unlikely. Everybody did it. It was simply the nature of things to be miserable in this way. The pandemic forced us to understand our computers. It was a leap.

    But now we no longer need to study timetables and traffic reports and suffer the farmer’s indignity of rising before dawn–unless we are farmers! And why wouldn’t we see some job seekers who don’t actually seem all that anxious to get back to that grind?

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