The decline in workforce participation should be worrying Washington
Biden pushes success of economic plans as inflation plagues country
New York Republican Lee Zeldin weighs in on the president’s economic agenda and Democrats’ spending plans on ‘The Evening Edit’
On Friday, we will see the final jobs report of the year. In Washington, most of the attention will focus on the employment numbers and the unemployment rate and how they compared to expectations. But I, and many other business leaders, will be looking a little further down in the report to the labor force participation rate for any indication of progress on addressing the worker shortage crisis.
Last month’s report, which covered October, was not positive. The labor force participation rate was unchanged for the month and the total size of the labor force was some 2.3 million people smaller than it was two years ago, before the pandemic. We cannot begin to fill the 10.4 million open jobs in our economy if we don’t get millions of people back into the labor force.
DOW JUMPS 617 POINTS
And the consequences for our economy are significant for small businesses that still can’t fully reopen because of a lack of workers and supply chain bottlenecks that threaten this all-important holiday shopping season.
To better understand why people are not returning to the workforce, the U.S. Chamber surveyed individuals who were employed full-time prior to the pandemic but have yet to return to full-time work. We wanted to know what these individuals are doing, how they are supporting themselves, and whether they are likely to return to work. What we found was not encouraging.
KROGER RAISES PRICES AS INFLATION HEATS UP
One in five of the previously employed say they are doing nothing to look for work and another 15 percent say they are just barely looking. In some instances, it is for good reason – eight percent report they have become business owners or are now self-employed, two percent are in school, and nine percent have returned to work, but only part-time.
Of the remaining 70%, 40% say they are not eager to return to full-time work. Overall, one in three workers say they don’t expect to return to full-time work before next April, with nearly one in ten saying they will never return to full-time work.
SMASH & GRAB IS A PRODUCT OF THE PANDEMIC
US economy adds 531K jobs in October
FOX Business’ Edward Lawrence and Dagan McDowell break down the October jobs report.
So, how are these individuals supporting themselves? The formerly employed report using a combination of income from other members of their household (45%), stimulus payments received during the pandemic (48%), savings (47%), and unemployment benefits (36%) to get by. Fifty-six percent report that they believe they can get by for more than six months before it becomes essential to return to full time work, with 26 percent saying it will be more than a year before it is necessary to return to work.