When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the labor market took a sharp turn, and the United States entered a period of extremely high unemployment.
Now, years later, as the pandemic rages on, the labor market trends caused by the pandemic are increasingly evident.
An employment mismatch
Overall, recent labor market information has been encouraging. Many people are going back to work, and jobs are being posted regularly. However, many companies are looking for employees and not finding them despite near record-breaking job loss in 2020.
With the constant cries of the worker shortage, it would seem reasonable to assume that pandemic unemployment has been resolved. This is not the case. Somehow there is a mismatch between the jobs that employers are posting and the workers who are looking for jobs.
The issues facing employment
The unemployment rate is decreasing, but job loss remains unresolved for many. There are many thoughts as to why this is happening.
- Many of the jobs that are going unfilled are in the service industry. These are often jobs that work with the public, such as waitstaff and retail clerks, and the jobs simply don’t feel safe with so much exposure.
- Childcare has created significant concern for many families. Schools move to virtual classes, and daycares or schools closing or sending students home for long stretches due to exposure. Some workers have not been able to return to work at all due to shifting childcare responsibilities.
- Job duties have changed in some industries. There are industries, including travel and retail, where employees bear the brunt of customer frustration with mask or vaccination mandates, for example. According to consumers’ online reviews on sites like PissedConsumer.com, this makes certain positions far less appealing.
- Workers are looking for online employment. As companies return to office settings, some employees are opting out by changing jobs, opting for self-employment, or finding other ways to continue working from home.
- Wages are making certain fields unappealing. With a limited workforce, certain industries may not be able to entice the workers they want without significantly raising wages. For some companies, this isn’t possible without changing their business model. Workers leave feedback on many a review website or forum about what they feel is “worth it” or not in certain areas.
As we enter the third year of COVID-19 and its effects on the labor market, economists and social scientists work to try and understand how our economy and the labor market will respond. While some trends can be watched and charted numerically, others can be deciphered from review sites like PissedConsumer or on forums like Reddit or Quora where workers share experiences.
Author: Joanna Clark Simpson
Joanna is the Head of Marketing at PissedConsumer.com, a review platform and consumer advocacy website. She specializes in marketing and customer service and provides tips on current trends and consumer news.