An interesting fact check on a question that I wondered myself: is the current seeming difficulty for hiring workers about people who died during COVID? USA Today says no:
There is currently no data counting the number of American workers who died of COVID-19. However, even the most conservative estimates rule out the possibility that deaths caused or significantly contributed to the current shortage.
One reason is that we know the virus was far more lethal for older Americans than for working-age Americans. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a total of 596,740 people had died of COVID-19 as of July 12. Of this number, 75% were 65 years of age or older. And 57% were over 75 years of age.
Seventy-five is far above the minimum retirement age of 62 years and the full retirement age of 66 years and two months, at which retirees can claim full Social Security benefits.
For a very conservative estimate, we could assume all of the COVID-19 victims under 75 years of age were active members of the workforce.
In that case, COVID-19 deaths would account for only 7.3% of the 3.5 million people who are no longer in the workforce.
That number drops to 4.3% if we take a more reasonable but still conservative approach, assuming that 20% of the people between 65 and 74 were still working, in line with a 2019 AARP survey.
Makes sense. I really like this little comment from a former commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
However, a "shortage" doesn't just imply a simple lack of workers or a lack of workers with the right skills. According to Erica Groshen, a Cornell University labor economist who served as commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics from 2014-2017, it means that available workers are not willing to accept the pay and benefits of available jobs.
“I'm not a big believer in overall labor shortages,” she said. “When the price of a car goes up, we don't declare a car shortage…you always have to say (the shortage is) 'at the wages that the employers are offering.’"
I like the cut of her jib!