New data reveals the nation’s worker shortage crisis is getting worse. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data released last week, although 428,000 jobs were added, participation in the labor force declined to 62.2% in April and 363,000 left the workforce, further exacerbating the worker shortage crisis.
Job openings reached a record high of 11.5 million in March, and we now have 5.6 million more open jobs than people looking for work.
“The U.S. now has nearly double the number of open jobs than we have available workers. This is unprecedented to have this kind of extreme mismatch between open jobs and people to fill those jobs,” said U.S. Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley.
“We hear from businesses every day that the worker shortage is their top challenge, and it’s impacting the country’s ability to ease supply chain disruptions, get inflation under control and continue our economic recovery. It’s past time for Congress to act on solutions like modernizing our broken immigration system and helping expand affordable childcare options to help fill our 11.5 million open jobs.”
Labor force participation now lags more than one full percentage point below what it was in February 2020. If we had the same participation level today as in 2020, we would have over three million more people looking for work to help fill the gap.
Earlier this year the U.S. Chamber launched the America Works Data Center to distill trends on job openings, labor force participation, and employment, and explore the reasons behind our workforce shortage. Recent articles explore the impact of an estimated one million women leaving the labor force during the pandemic, often to take on childcare duties.
The Data Center is part of America Works, a partnership of the U.S. Chamber and U.S. Chamber Foundation mobilizing industry and government to swiftly address America’s worker shortage crisis. The Chamber is also part of The Alliance for a New Immigration Consensus, a coalition working to build support for bipartisan legislative solutions that provide permanent legal protections and other reforms for Dreamers, TPS recipients, and agricultural workers.