New analysis from the National Bureau of Economic Research finds that nearly 500,000 people have disappeared from the U.S. workforce.
The research explores the impact that the pandemic has had on the workforce, and found that the virus has caused a definite labor shortage.
In addition to the pandemic itself forcing people out of the workforce, many of those who contracted Covid-19 are also struggling with the effects of long Covid. In fact, a study from Brookings Institution shows that up to 2.4 million people have missed or limited their work due to long Covid.
“Covid-19 illnesses persistently reduce labor supply,” said the report’s authors, Gopi Shah Goda of Stanford University and Evan Soltas of Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s economics department.
This has led companies to find new places to tap into talent. For instance, restaurants in Delaware, Michigan, Ohio and Texas recently announced a new prison work release program so those reentering society have jobs lined up.
“We estimate that workers with week-long work absences are 7% less likely to be in the labor force one year later compared to otherwise-similar workers who do not miss a week of work for health reasons.”
Although the distinct shortage has changed how businesses operate, the authors state that limitations in data made it “difficult to assess these impacts and the economic costs of Covid-19 illnesses more broadly.”