Where are the Workers? Examining the Labor Shortage

The Hinckley Institute Radio Hour — This week on the program, a panel looks at the current forces at play in the labor market, the demand for more workers and the way this has contributed to a rise in strikes across U.S. industries.

According to numbers released by the Labor Department in mid-October, U.S. unemployment hit a 19-month low, showing a tightening labor market amid fears of a national worker shortage. In related news, the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations says there have been 185 strikes in 255 locations in the U.S. over the last year. 40 strikes in October alone have led some to dub the month “Striketober.” John Deere and Kellogg are among the companies that have seen thousands of workers walk off the job for better compensation and improved working conditions.

This week’s panel of experts discusses the tight labor market, a rise in striking workers and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy. Included on the panel is Dean Baker, visiting professor at the University of Utah’s Economics Department; Mark Knold, chief economist at the Utah Department of Workforce Services; Byron Russell, co-chair of the Utah Division of Multicultural Affairs; and Melva Sine, president and CEO of the Utah Restaurant Association. Moderating today’s discussion is Natalie Gochnour,  director of the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute.

This forum was recorded on September 29, 2021.

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