American Motion Sickness: The Seesaw of Labor Availability
May 2, 2022
Despite our best attempts to suppress the memory, we all remember it well. Just over two years ago, the pandemic triggered state-ordered shutdowns. Our economy obviously slowed to a crawl, and employers everywhere immediately found themselves with surplus workers. The result was mass layoffs, flooding the labor market with available employees. To get employees back to work, Congress passed the CARES Act to assist employers with wages and to encourage the rehiring of America’s workforce. The ARPA followed in an attempt to stimulate a static economy. The injection of this cash into the economy – along with our adjustment to living with the pandemic and the availability of vaccines – created high demand for goods and services.
The only problem was that during employees’ time in unemployed isolation, something happened. People reevaluated their lives – particularly their work lives. For myriad reasons (and reasons we have yet to fully understand), many chose to temporarily remain outside of the workforce or to exit the workforce permanently. As a result, despite the propellant applied to the economy, there remained a hole where the American workforce once was, and employers found themselves in need of labor, fast.