Supply shortages and emboldened workers: a changing economy | Local company

An American labor shortage

Even absorbing higher prices, workers, especially in the United States, benefited from a tighter job market that allowed them to earn better wages and benefits.

The United States, in particular, has experienced severe labor shortages. In the depths of the pandemic recession in the spring of 2020, employers cut 22 million jobs. When the economy rebounded, they rushed to recall laid-off workers – or find new ones. In September and October, employers listed a record 1.4 job openings for every American unemployed.

In Europe, on the other hand, governments have basically paid companies to keep workers on their payroll, making it “much easier to reopen economies in Europe because people just went back to their old jobs,” said Jacob Kirkegaard of the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

American workers have used their influence to demand higher wages and better working conditions. Frito-Lay workers went on strike in July to protest compulsory overtime. At Deere & Co., thousands of people went on strike in the fall and won 10% increases.

At a Jack in the Box restaurant in Sacramento, Calif., Workers quit their jobs to protest working conditions, including an air conditioner that constantly broke and forced them to work in 100-degree heat. In response, the restaurant installed a new air conditioner and increased wages by $ 1.25 an hour.