Why America Has a Long-Term Labor Crisis

Wall Street Journal (09/25/23) Weber, Lauren; Pipe, Alana

The U.S. economy has been running, improbably, with an unemployment rate under 4% for nearly two years. Work experts have warned for years that the combination of baby boomer retirements, low birthrates, shifting immigration policies, and changing worker preferences is leaving U.S. employers with too few workers to fill job openings.

“It is a talent supply chain and you have to think about it that way, except in this case, talent has a choice,” said Teresa Carroll, chief executive officer of Magnit, a firm that manages temporary, contract, and freelance workers for companies. Workers are choosing arrangements such as part-time, flexible, or remote work, prompting employers to adapt to fill roles. Total employment will grow about 0.3% a year until 2032, the U.S. Department of Labor recently projected, much slower than the 1.2% rate over the past decade, largely because of population constraints.

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