Over the last few years the number of employed citizens in America has continued to decrease rapidly and COVID-19 is to blame. Although it seems as if there is a labor shortage, evidence shows that there isn’t. In fact, according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics “9.5 million people are unemployed in America and 9.2 million jobs are open.” So why are so many businesses in dire need of workers? It all can be blamed on COVID-19, when the global pandemic started to be more prevalent in America, to slow the spread, millions of workers were laid off or became unemployed. This resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of people on government aid programs. Hubbard High School student Kennedy Perline (10) was asked the same questions that a lot of people had to ask themselves: Would you stay at a job and risk getting COVID-19 or make a little less money from financial support and not have to worry about the risks COVID-19? She replied: “I would leave the job and file for unemployment because I would be making about the same amount of money while staying safe at the same time.” She further stated that “It was an extremely easy decision and a no brainer.” This reaction lines up perfectly with the mindset that many people have in dealing with their economic decisions during this global pandemic.
SHRM did a poll of 1000 unemployed Americans who were laid off or left their jobs during the pandemic, and their results were staggering. They found that 42% of the people’s number one reason for staying unemployed during the pandemic is because of no responses from businesses where they applied. This is crazy because it completely goes against the fact that the businesses need people to work. Another high percentage at 17% said they left their jobs to escape the dangers of COVID-19 and decided that they would pursue a different career, one that would pay better. Hubbard High School student Tyler Wright (10) states, “Leaving a present job is the obvious decision because it gives a person a second chance to pursue his or her dreams and helps to overall benefit one’s future.” Tyler is right about it being an obvious decision. If he can be asked this question and easily be able to come up with the same answer as so many other people without any information on what the other people did, imagine how easy it is for people to decide what to do when they know what other people are doing.
People have plenty of good reasons for leaving their jobs and not returning or returning to the workforce at a different job. The question is, what is going to happen in the future? Not only are people leaving because of COVID-19, people are retiring, and the younger generations are working less. This is causing further harm because in the future America will need many more people to work. For now, though, that isn’t an issue; instead, it seems like the country needs more workers because the businesses that one frequents often, such as fast food restaurants and retail shops and other low paying jobs, are advertising for employees. This is because when the business shuts down for COVID-19, people realize that there are much better options to pursue. Thus, America is experiencing a mass job shift, which is good for the people but not good for the business that loses their present employees. To fix the lack of employees, our generation and the generations following us us need to work these jobs before we make a decision for our career choice. Even if it is just a summer job, it is helping the business to stay afloat long enough to find a more permanent worker.