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The truth behind America's labor shortage is we're not ready to rethink work

The truth behind America's labor shortage is we're not ready to rethink work


OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP/Getty Images




Roughly 10 million Americans are unemployed, yet hiring slowed sharply in April as the US reopened.




The labor-shortage trend has less to do with too few workers and more to do with rethinking labor.




The pandemic and stimulus led Americans to reevaluate work - and demand higher pay for it.




See more stories on Insider's business page.


Workers were tired before the pandemic. Now they're reaching a breaking point."These guys are just dumbasses if they actually think that the UI is the problem and not the wage," Matt Mies, an unemployed 28-year-old, told Insider.He was referring to the dozens of Republican governors who have cited a so-called labor shortage, which they've blamed on the "disincentive" created by an expanded federal unemployment benefit from President Joe Biden's stimulus package. The leaders, who govern nearly half of the 50 states, have moved to cancel the benefit early, stripping it from millions within weeks.Economists had largely expected jobless Americans would rush back to work as vaccines rolled out and the country reopened, but that all changed on May 7, when the government's monthly payrolls report showed much-weaker-than-expected job gains of 266,000 in April. That seemed to confirm the labor shortage was real.
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