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Several Million U.S. Workers Seen Staying Out of Labor Force Indefinitely

"Survey shows many labor-force dropouts plan to maintain social distancing after pandemic, raising implications for economy"

Free link to WSJ Article

A few points from the article:

• The U.S. is still missing about 3.5 million workers... several million workers plan to stay out indefinitely

• About three million workforce dropouts say they don’t plan to return to pre-Covid activities—whether that includes going to work, shopping in person or dining out—even after the pandemic ends

• Consistently, 1 in 10 have said they plan no return.

• The labor force [may] be depressed for potentially years after the pandemic recedes

Comments

  • I thank the people who do things for me by saying, “Thanks for working today.” They smile, seemingly pleased to be recognized. The unspoken reality is that there are many who choose not to work.
  • edited April 19
    We also don't know how extensive Long Covid will turn out to be. CDC tracking isn't providing much help there. But it's possible it could be a significant labor force and overall economic drag ... of course not to mention a whole lot of people suffering the effects.
  • How exactly do these individuals expect to pay for the necessities of life? Surely, some have saved up and may not need to work, but so many studies show how the vast majority of people don't save enough... Do they just expect Uncle Sam to bail them out?
  • JoJo26 said:

    How exactly do these individuals expect to pay for the necessities of life? Surely, some have saved up and may not need to work, but so many studies show how the vast majority of people don't save enough... Do they just expect Uncle Sam to bail them out?

    I was wondering the same thing. I don’t subscribe so I can’t read the whole article, but from what can be read it says that those who drop out tend to be people without college degrees and worked in low paying jobs, which would make it seem less likely they had a lot of savings to live off of. Maybe they have a spouse who works? Maybe they are older and can live off of social security? Maybe they have legitimate documented health issues that even if vaccinated put them at risk? I wonder if the article elaborates more.
  • edited April 19
    Article is from WSJ, owned by Fox News so not sure what they are trying to convey. May be they are 'free loaders'.
  • @chinfist, it is a free article from the WSJ so anyone should be able to read it. Anyway the article does elaborate more.

    "Several million workers who dropped out of the U.S. workforce during the Covid-19 pandemic plan to stay out indefinitely because of persistent illness fears or physical impairments, potentially exacerbating the labor shortage for years, new research shows.

    About three million workforce dropouts say they don’t plan to return to pre-Covid activities—whether that includes going to work, shopping in person or dining out—even after the pandemic ends, according to a monthly survey conducted over the past year by a team of researchers. The workforce dropouts tend to be women, lack a college degree and have worked in low-paying fields."
  • edited April 19
    "Article is from WSJ, owned by Fox News"

    Not so. Fox "News" is also a unit of News Corp. There is no management connection between the two operations.


    What is the Journal's ownership structure?
    Dow Jones & Co., a unit of News Corp, publishes The Wall Street Journal, Barron's, MarketWatch, Factiva and Dow Jones Newswires.

    Why is the Journal’s newsroom separate from the editorial department that publishes Opinion pieces?

    The Wall Street Journal separates news and opinion. The news department operates independently of the opinion pages. Both report to Dow Jones CEO Almar Latour.

    The news pages offer readers the highest standards of rigorous, factual, impartial news reporting, while the opinion pages offer a panoply of contributors who add to societal debate in the U.S. and elsewhere. The Journal is committed to clear labeling, so readers know when they are reading an editorial or opinion piece, as opposed to a news article.

  • @Old_Joe: I believe what you have written about the separation between news and opinion at the WSJ did in fact exist. I was a long-time reader until about two years ago. I had no quarrel with the investigative reporting (on Elizabeth Holmes and on avaiation, for example), but the formerly objective news coverage came to be slanted once 2016 came to pass. What I noticed in particular was the use of terms such as “left-leaning” to describe any politician not Republican as well how stories about DT’s rallies clearly expressed a favorable opinion of how the rabble was behaving on that particular day. Any news operation has to choose what events to cover; what I was doing was reading the NYTimes alongside the Journal. The Gray Lady had the facts, the WSJ presented poorly-disguised opinion pieces.
  • edited April 20
    @BenWP- Thanks for your comments. We have subscribed to the print edition of the WSJ for many years because of their reporting- most certainly not because of their editorial garbage. Additionally, we subscribe to the print editions of The Economist and The Atlantic, as well as the internet versions of the NY Times, The Washington Post and The Guardian, so we have a pretty good view on tendencies towards reporting bias.

    As a prime example of reporting bias, I would note that we also have subscribed to the San Francisco Chronicle for over fifty years. At one time it was actually a decent newspaper. In the past few years it's reporting has deteriorated to little more than a totally predictable "progressive" distortion of reality. The main reason that we maintain the subscription is to read the comics section.

    I come from a strong Union family, and in fact was myself a Union steward for a number of years, so my natural bias is obviously towards “left-leaning” perspectives, and I don't regard either of the terms "left-leaning" or "right-leaning" as pejorative. There most definitely is a "left-wing" and a "right-wing", and to pretend otherwise is to be blind to reality.

    Nonetheless, I do not want or appreciate significant bias in my news reports. The reason that we subscribe to this spread of news resources is to allow comparison of reported information.

    I must respectfully disagree with your opinion of the WSJ. By and large we have found their reporting to be factual, reasonably neutral, and generally in accordance with other decent sources. As you note, any news operation has to choose what events to cover, and with respect to the WSJ it's hard to know if editorial bias influences that. It is true that the WSJ does not always choose the same event overage as The Washington Post, but it's also very true that WaPo is hardly without a "left-leaning" bias of it's own.

    One tries to distill something close to the truth by obtaining input from a variety of sources. No one of them is perfect, by any means.

  • edited April 19
    Enjoy both WSJ & Barron’s. With few exceptions the news reporting in both seems objective and of high quality. Too bad the WSJ devotes so much space, however, to their (mostly very conservative) “Opinion” section. A waste of good talent ISTM. The WSJ isn’t cheap. Near $30 monthly on Kindle - but well worth it IMHO.

    The WP can be had for $6 monthly if you’re a Prime member. I choose not to subscribe.
  • The WaPo is interesting, in that it maintains it's historic "left-leaning" reporting and editorial perspective despite being owned by Jeff Bezos, who is not exactly known for his pro-union left-leaning propensities.
  • edited April 19
    Mark said:

    @chinfist, it is a free article from the WSJ so anyone should be able to read it. Anyway the article does elaborate more.

    "Several million workers who dropped out of the U.S. workforce during the Covid-19 pandemic plan to stay out indefinitely because of persistent illness fears or physical impairments, potentially exacerbating the labor shortage for years, new research shows.

    About three million workforce dropouts say they don’t plan to return to pre-Covid activities—whether that includes going to work, shopping in person or dining out—even after the pandemic ends, according to a monthly survey conducted over the past year by a team of researchers. The workforce dropouts tend to be women, lack a college degree and have worked in low-paying fields."

    That is the only part of the article that can be read unless one subscribes. I read that part. My questions pertained to if they are not working, where are they getting money in order to pay the rent/mortgage, food, etc. Does the article address this?

    Edit: it looks like you can read it if you register, without having to subscribe.
  • Wished I could reference the source but I heard some data on the huge increase in home equity loans over the past year and the hosts were saying that this contributes greatly to the threads subject. I was surprised to learn this. Here is one source: https://www.cnbc.com/2022/02/28/homeowners-hold-record-equity-what-to-know-if-you-want-to-borrow.html
  • @Old_Joe: it’s not impossible that my own opinions have been warped by the discord and disaffection in our body politic and our public discourse. Polarization tends to promote more extreme polarization, at least from this seat.

    I don’t consider myself a leftist, but others might. A grad-school friend of mine, long after I had taken a leadership role in my union, reminded me that I organized our fellow grad students to confront a new department chair on sweeping changes he had unilaterally imposed. And my mother-in-law asked me if I was one of those liberal professors she was always reading about in the WSJ. She read only one paper.
  • I wonder if any of the workforce dropouts are simply people old enough to retire who decided to quit working sooner than they would have otherwise.

    Regarding the WSJ, I consider its new coverage reasonably neutral — and my political views are left central. I also worked as a journalist for much of my career, and the WSJ’s news coverage is well respected among its peers. As others noted, its editorial pages are another matter and slant hard right.
  • The NYT published an article Monday illustrating one of the reasons why folks are choosing to remain out of the workforce. I've no doubt that when you are disrespected by not only the customers BUT management as well you are not going to put up with the nonsense.

    Dollar General
  • edited April 21
    Old_Joe said:

    The WaPo is interesting, in that it maintains it's historic "left-leaning" reporting and editorial perspective despite being owned by Jeff Bezos, who is not exactly known for his pro-union left-leaning propensities.

    15-20 years ago we achieved the than “miraculous” ability to receive daily copies of WP electronically. Had to leave a cellular enabled device connected to a telephone landline overnight and every morning there was the WP. It was a much better and more objective paper back in those days.

    I won’t credit Bezos with the decline, since newspapers generally have succumbed to cost pressures (reducing hard content) and, to an extent, the polarization of society where a publication’s perceived “slant” may attract or discourage readers. I can only say the WP ain’t what it once was. Neither is the WSJ - but it does a better job separating the opinion out into a separate section. It has enough subscribers paying an inflated price that it can still afford good research staffs and journalists.

  • +1 Mark
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