What's behind the worker shortage slowing the economic rebound
Despite school reopenings and the end of some federal aid, many people are in no rush to land a job
October 20, 2021
Fall was meant to mark the beginning of the end of the labor shortage that has held back the nation's economic recovery. Expanded unemployment benefits were ending. Schools were reopening, freeing up many caregivers. Surely, economists and business owners reasoned, a flood of workers would follow.
Instead, the labor force shrank in September. There are 5 million fewer people working than before the pandemic began and 3 million fewer even looking for work.
The slow return of workers is causing headaches for the Biden administration, which was counting on a strong economic rebound to give momentum to its political agenda. Forecasters were largely blindsided by the problem and do not know how long it will last.