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IPFS News Link • Employment & Jobs

Here's Why 100 Million Americans Weren't Working This Month

•, Bloomberg

Almost half of the respondents are retired, which is to be expected given the size of the baby boomer generation and the fact that many exited the labor market early during the pandemic. Another 12% were either sick from an illness unrelated to Covid or disabled.

But the coronavirus continues to play an outsized role in keeping workers out of the labor force. The poll implies that 5.6 million people aren't working because of Covid-19, whether they are ill themselves, caring for someone who's sick, or they're concerned about getting or spreading the coronavirus. Others also cite losing their jobs because of the pandemic.

The labor market has remained tight this year even as inflation hit a four-decade high and parts of the economy cooled. Job openings, while off their peaks, are still historically high. Businesses large and small have complained about labor shortages and difficulties to retain staff.

The Census poll, conducted from Oct. 5 to Oct. 17, offers a glimpse into why many stayed on the sidelines. 

More than 6 million didn't have a job because they were caring for a child or elderly person, and another 6.8 million didn't want to be employed, the survey shows. The lack of transportation was keeping about 1.2 million workers on the sidelines.