America’s warehouse and factory owners are finding they cannot fill jobs without boosting wages.
e-Commerce is driving a surge of orders, with US manufacturing expanding in August at its fastest pace since late Y 2018. That has employers moving to bulk up staff to keep production rolling and satisfy demand.
Jobs numbers released last Friday, ahead of the long Labor Day weekend to celebrate American workers, showed that while the unemployment rate dropped more than expected to 8.4%, millions are still without work.
The labor-shortage paradox comes even as manufacturing employment is still down around 720,000 workers since before the virus chaos started in February.
It suggests the ample supply of available labor has not necessarily cured the nation’s skills gap, where workers do not have the qualifications employers need, and the virus chaos probably will speed up the use of robotics that is already underway.
The pay hikes at many warehouses and factories around the country track with broader, recent figures showing wages are rising the most in low and middle-income jobs.
On 2 September the Feds Beige Book survey reported that “firms continued to experience difficulty finding necessary labor, a matter compounded by day care availability, as well as uncertainty over the coming school year and jobless benefits.”
The federal government’s weekly $600 stipend for jobless workers at the outset of the virus chaos is a sore spot for many manufacturing and staffing executives, who insist it has thwarted their hiring efforts.
The benefit expired on 31 July although President Donald Trump last month signed an executive order that provides an extra $300 to most recipients and some states have begun paying out the additional sum.
Another factor impacting available labor is the large number of furloughed employees expecting to be called back to their former jobs.
In August, 45% of the jobless considered their status short-term, far higher than the about 15% who ordinarily consider their unemployment temporary.
Have a healthy day, Keep the Faith!
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