The Effects of the Worker Shortage

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a dramatic worker shortage in the labor market. Millions of laborers lost their jobs, shrinking the size of the workforce in various sectors. While many industries are starting to gain more employment, there are still numerous workers not employed. The ADP Research Institute has released findings on what they believe is to blame for the limited labor market.

Employment Findings

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, public and private employment has decreased by over 800,000 workers since the start of the pandemic in February of 2020. While the private sector individually has had an increase of workers, the overall level of employment is very low.

Worker Shortage

The COVID-19 pandemic led to large numbers of workers being laid off or furloughed. While these rates have decreased, the rate of employees quitting their jobs has increased. In 2021, the number of quits rose 36%, indicating that there is a huge trend of employees resigning from their positions.

Job Openings and Fill Rates

Even with large amounts of job openings, companies are struggling to find enough workers to fill their positions. Organizations have tried to bring back employees that were put on leave or furloughed, but this has not been enough to overcome the worker shortage. In fact, the job fill rate is currently lower than it was before the start of the pandemic.

Due to the low fill rate, there is an abundance of job openings, especially in private sector industries. However, this has led to the number of rejoins increasing. Rejoins are when employees that have previously stopped working with a company come back to work with the same organization. Factors behind the increase in rejoins include the cessation of federal unemployment benefits and the re-opening of schools, allowing parents to return back to their offices.

Effects on Employers

Employers have been trying to overcome this labor shortage by opening more positions, particularly remote positions that can giver workers more flexibility. Companies are desperately trying to hire new staff in order to fill their empty positions. Specifically, employers are now offering more benefits to workers and less requirements for job applications.

There have also been general increases in pay rates in order to gain more workers. Wages in several different industries have gone up in and effort to persuade employees to keep their positions.

The Future of Employment

Even with a large demand from employers, there still remains a shortage of laborers in the workforce. For several different reasons, people are hesitant about returning to work or taking on new positions.

Organizations continue to try and entice workers by offering more flexible schedules, better pay, and employee benefits. Further, companies should work on branding their positions in a more attractive way in order to appeal to the workforce. Additionally, employers can build better relationships with their current workers in order to reduce quitting and burnout.

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Lijia Wei & Jeff Nezaj (June 2022). Missing Workers – The labor market has yet to recover from the pandemic. Retrieved from,-June%2012%2C%202022&text=The%20coronavirus%20pandemic%20shocked%20the,workforce%20shrank%20by%2015%20percent.