Labor Department Numbers Provide Context to Workforce Shortage
Throughout 2021, employers in the U.S. struggled to hire and retain employees as the economy recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Countless companies, including those in the hotel industry, laid off or furloughed employees at the start of the pandemic in 2020. Over time, though, the economy started to recover, and consumers felt comfortable spending after building up some savings.
But as demand returned, businesses faced supply-chain constraints caused by the pandemic and a labor shortage after letting so many employees go.
With hundreds of thousands of dead in the U.S. from COVID-19 and its variants, many would-be employees are afraid to return to customer-facing jobs. Others have had changes in their personal lives, including childcare situations, that prevent them from returning to work. Many people at or near retirement age decided it was time to leave the workforce, freeing up positions higher up in their companies, creating opportunities for younger employees to receive promotions and opening up more entry-level jobs.