Associated Press (AP): US economy: Plenty of growth, not enough workers or supplies

By Paul Wiseman
Associated Press (AP), June 7, 2021

The U.S. economy is sparking confusion and whiplash almost as fast as it’s adding jobs. ...

Economists point mainly to what they call a short-term mismatch: Companies are posting job openings faster than applicants can respond. After all, many Americans are contending with considerable tumult at home — health issues related to COVID-19, child-care problems with schools slow to reopen, career uncertainty after many jobs permanently vanished over the past 15 months. ...

Some say the labor shortage is nothing that can’t be solved the old-fashioned way: By raising pay and offering more generous benefits and working conditions. In fact, that process appears to have begun: Average hourly wages rose solidly in April and May.

Consider Gina Schaefer, who owns 13 Ace hardware stores in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., and who has been rapidly staffing up for the spring and summer, when her sales typically hit highs.

Schaefer has hired nearly 120 people since March, both seasonal workers and long-delayed replacements for people who left last year when COVID ravaged the economy. Her company pays a minimum of $15 ... and provides health insurance, paid vacation, sick leave and a 401(k) plan ...

“We firmly believe that better workplaces do not have a problem finding employees,” she said. ...

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Copyright 2021 Associated Press

 

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