As the United States economy recovered from COVID-19 and the lockdown-induced recession, employers have been plagued by a severe labor shortage.
Under President Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, the federal government extended funding for $300-per-week enhanced unemployment payments. Even as American businesses sought to hire workers once lockdowns ended, as many as 1.8 million chose to stay home and keep receiving handouts. Some even filed suit against their governors, who opted out of the federal program in the interest of boosting small business activity.
Though labor shortages are persisting throughout most of the country, some workers may not have their jobs when the enhanced unemployment payments run dry in September. Over the past year, companies have continued operations by making permanent shifts toward automation.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
Economic data show that companies have learned to do more with less over the last 16 months or so. Output nearly recovered to pre-pandemic levels in the first quarter of 2021 — down