The great resignation

Ila Prabhuram

More stories from Ila Prabhuram

The great resignation

With millions of Americans quitting their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses across the United States are experiencing a severe labor shortage known as ’the great resignation.’ 

Various companies have been struggling to hire staff since the start of the pandemic. Over 4.4 million Americans have left their jobs, but corporations have increased their wages and offered bonuses in hopes of attracting workers. The shortage has persisted for months, and many believe that this trend will continue well into the future.  

We’ve seen a very slow recovery in the daycare industry, and that has a significant impact on the rest of the economy — because it means that parents can’t return to work,” Daniel Zhao, a senior economist at Glassdoor, told Insider. 

The United States Chamber of Commerce conducted a poll with 529 Americans who have been unemployed since the pandemic. Over half of the respondents indicated that they ’are not active in the job search,’ and 65 percent of those that are jobless do not expect to return to work before the start of 2022. America is scrambling to lower the unemployment rate and mend the workforce crisis, which is evidently slowing the road to economic recovery during the pandemic. 

The US needs to find ways to raise the number of workers through larger and more economically motivated immigration policies, and higher labor force participation,” Gad Levanon said in a CNN article. 

The Chamber of Commerce’s survey indicates that this shortage could be permanent as the labor force remains on the sidelines, demanding higher pay, increased benefits, and better safety conditions. As the Omicron variant, a new strain of the COVID-19 virus that originated in South Africa, predicts another wave of isolation, the pandemic-related issues that caused many to leave their jobs do not appear to be going away any time soon. Many students are worried that the spread of the new variant will cause another lockdown similar to that of March 2020, which would force companies and schools to shut down once again.  

At the beginning of the school year when COVID-19 numbers spiked because of the delta variant, I was somewhat concerned that we would shut down because so many people I worked with were sick or not working to take care of sick people, but we never shut down. We also have an indoor mask mandate, and in January, they are requiring workers to be vaccinated or take a negative covid test each week, so hopefully, those measures will help to decrease the spread,” Abby Turner, junior, said. 

As Americans begin to rethink what working means to them, leaders hope to use this time to build collective action to stop the labor shortage.