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More than Simple Supply and Demand 

The pandemic's unprecedented effect on the labor market


The pandemic has upended the labor market in unprecedented ways and it will take some time for the disruption to be resolved. Our new article examines employer challenges in finding workers during pandemic recovery and offers some ideas for new steps employers can take now to find the workers they need.

In our work as DEED's Labor Market Analyst and Workforce Strategy Consultant for Northeast Minnesota, we've heard from many employers who aren't receiving the same number and quality of applications they were receiving prior to the pandemic. This is happening as many employers are hoping to hire more employees to meet growing demand.

We are witnessing an unprecedented paradox where employers see too few or unqualified candidates while unemployment remains relatively high. The reasons why people are not seeking work are complicated and driven by individual or family needs. It will take some time to understand all the factors at play, but one thing is clear: the pandemic recession is unlike any other in its impact on the labor market.

While much attention was focused on high unemployment during 2020 and early 2021, now the focus is shifting to high vacancies and hiring difficulties. Starting earlier this spring, DEED staff started calling thousands of Minnesotans currently receiving Unemployment Insurance benefits to make sure they are aware of the many current job openings and help connect them with employers hiring now.

There are also things that employers can do during this very unusual time in the labor market. For most employers, it likely won't be enough to just do what they've always done to recruit, hire and retain workers. We offer steps, ranging from simple ones to those requiring significant investment and planning, that employers can take now to help find the workers they need.

You can learn more and see detailed recommendations in our article, More than Simple Supply and Demand. The article is featured in the June issue of Minnesota Economic Trends, a quarterly publication of DEED's Labor Market Information (LMI) office.

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