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Staffing problems continue nationwide

Industries across the country are struggling to maintain employment numbers, causing nationwide problems (https://apnews.com/article/coronavirus-pandemic-business-health-texas-prisons-dba13f1c6368392be2bc5e7375170a78). Despite additional unemployment benefits expiring and stimulus checks ending, data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that 4.3 million Americans quit their jobs in August. This accounts for almost 3% of the entire workforce.


One major industry is public service, especially emergency response and law enforcement in general. This comes in part because of the federally mandated COVID vaccine requirement that went into effect back in September. Many firefighters, police officers, and nurses left their jobs instead of getting vaccinated. Within law enforcement, the hardest hit sector has been corrections officers. National Director of One Voice United, Brian Dawe said, “There are dozens of reasons to leave and very few to stay. Understaffing, poor pay, poor benefits, horrendous working conditions. … Officers and their families in many jurisdictions have had enough.”


Air travel has also suffered from a lack of staffing (https://www.npr.org/2021/10/31/1050936006/american-airlines-has-canceled-nearly-1-600-flights-since-friday). American Airlines recently cancelled 250 flights because of staffing and weather conditions. They had already cancelled flights on Friday (343) and Saturday (548) as well. Similarly, Southwest Airlines cancelled over 2,000 weekend flights just a few weeks ago.


The pandemic has caused many to reconsider their work expectations. Companies are exploring alternate ways of operating because of the adaptation the pandemic required. While there are job listings galore, more people are setting higher standards for employment, limiting what is available to them.


With prices on the rise thanks to inflation and shipping problems persisting, how long will it take for the economy to recover? Will the Biden Administration be able to make the necessary adjustments to right the ship, or will the spending bills they are working to push through exacerbate the situation? What impact will this have on the midterm elections and subsequent elections thereafter?

Image Credit: Joe Raedle | Getty Images

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