Living through a pandemic left us with a lot of unknowns for the future. And though none of us really thought things would get back to “normal,” we have all anticipated the day that we could begin moving forward again. As vaccines roll out and mask mandates cease, it’s easy to speculate how things will look going forward, especially within the labor force.
In April 2020, just one month after the initial lockdown order was issued, Texas unemployment rates reached an all time high of 12.9%. Fortunately, as of May 2021, the unemployment rate was reported at 6.5%. It’s safe to say that things are improving, with rates dropping by nearly half in just over a year’s time. Sadly, even with the decreasing unemployment rate, companies are still struggling to find suitable candidates to hire.
We covered a number of reasons for these struggles in our article: “Why is Hiring Hard Right Now?”. One of the biggest hurdles employers are facing is the role that government assistance programs have played. With the federal order increasing unemployment benefits by $300 a week, people have procrastinated their return to work. This has also allowed people the time to reevaluate what is important to them. This will take place even more as companies continue to return to the office.
As many have embraced the remote environments they’ve gotten used to, we’ve also seen a major increase in resignations. This has given employers the opportunity to look at their current structure while creating new ideas to help redevelop their teams. Although federal benefits are not set to expire until September 2021, Texas has opted out of all related programs effective June 26, 2021. The purpose of this decision is to help encourage employees to return to the workforce.
The Push to Have Employees to Return
The labor shortage has been an ongoing issue during Texas’s phased reopenings. Fortunately, economists do believe this is temporary. As more vaccines roll out and the government aid expires, an increase in the workforce is predicted. Governor Abbot’s decision to terminate these benefits early for Texas has many businesses looking forward to the prospect of rebuilding their teams in the coming months.
Studies are showing that the number of unemployed is currently almost identical to the number of job openings. It should also be known that many employers are now offering higher salaries to increase their appeal to potential employees. Currently, it has been reported that nearly 45% of job openings pay over $15.50 an hour. Additionally, only 2% are being listed at minimum wage. Though the higher pay may be pushing up inflation and causing a slowdown in America’s recovery, this too is predicted to balance out over time.
A Post-Pandemic Labor Force
It has been a long road to get where we are now, and we still have a ways to go to see where the economy will be. Employers across the state look forward to the anticipated labor force increase that should come with the expiration of the benefits. Unfortunately, it is still too early to fully predict what the labor force will truly look like post-pandemic. The good news is that Texas is making the first move in regards to achieving normalcy. Though there are push backs from those who may not be ready, many believe it is time to encourage people to return to work.
Hire Priority understands the struggles that this pandemic has brought, and we are here to help as we transition to better days. With our top screening and training programs, we can help your company find the right fit for your new normal. Contact us today to see how we can help!