What’s Really Causing the Labor Shortage

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By Bloomberg. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Robots may replace us eventually, but for now Covid-19 has revealed just how desperate businesses are for workers of the human variety, and the broader economic consequences of that desperation. Companies are raising wages to attract talent, which in turn is helping boost inflation. It hit 6.2% in the U.S. last month and is running at 8.1% in Russia.

This week, Bloomberg reporters on two continents share how and why workers are slow to return to the office, factory and field. First, New York-based economics reporter Jill Shah explains the mystery behind the U.S. labor market, which at once has millions of unemployed and as many as 11 million openings. A few of the reasons? Some are waiting to land a remote job, others can't find childcare--and at least a few are trying to make a living trading cryptocurrency.

Meantime, Moscow-based reporter Áine Quinn finds Russia's labor shortage is more easily explained. Many migrant workers from Central Asia left during the pandemic and didn't return, while the nation's high infection and death rates has many Russians staying home. Finally, Stephanie Flanders discusses the labor shortage's lasting effects with Jason Furman, a professor of the practice of economic policy at Harvard University. History tells us that many long-term unemployed will see their skills erode, leaving them at a competitive disadvantage, Furman says.

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