America’s economic recovery is being hobbled by a shortage of workers needed to fill millions of vacant jobs, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
“The most critical and widespread challenge facing businesses right now is the inability to hire the qualified workers they need,” the Chamber said in a Tuesday report.
“When businesses do not have enough employees, they are forced to turn down jobs, reduce hours, scale down their operations, and in the worst cases, permanently close. The latest data and surveys reveal a national economic crisis that is getting steadily worse,” the report said.
“Our nation has far too many people without jobs, far too many jobs without people to fill them, and as a result, far too many businesses that can’t grow and thrive,” the Chamber said in a proposal to tackle the worker shortage.
The report gave each state a Worker Availability Ratio measuring the number of available workers per job opening. By way of context, the national figure is 1.4 workers per job — half the figure of 2.8 workers per job that had been the national average for the past 20 years.
The lowest five states are: South Dakota (0.6 workers per job); Nebraska (0.8 workers per job); Vermont (0.9 workers per job); Kansas (1 worker per job); and Indiana (1 worker per job).
The Chamber reported that 90 percent of employers said the top issue crimping economic expansion in their communities is a lack of people who can be hired for jobs.
The report also said that 89 percent of businesses said they and others in their area were having a difficult time finding people to hire.
“The worker shortage is real — and it’s getting worse by the day,” Suzanne Clark, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement, according to Business Insider.
“The worker shortage is a national economic emergency, and it poses an imminent threat to our fragile recovery and America’s great resurgence,” she said.
The report said that as of March, America had 8.1 million job openings.
Some sectors have fared worse than others.
In manufacturing, there are 1.15 workers for every available job. The business services, education and health sectors all have more openings than there are people to fill them.
“Just as with vaccine development, America needs an Operation Warp Speed approach for filling open jobs,” the Chamber said.
“We have flooded the zone with checks that I’m sure everybody loves to get, and also enhanced unemployment,” the Kentucky Republican said.
“And what I hear from business people, hospitals, educators, everybody across the state all week is, regretfully, it’s actually more lucrative for many Kentuckians and Americans to not work than work. So we have a workforce shortage, and we have raising inflation,” he said.
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