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Let's Talk Unemployment And The Labor Shortage

Alachua County via Flickr CC 2.0

Let’s Talk New Mexico 7/8 8am: Have you noticed “help wanted” signs in the windows of your favorite restaurants and businesses? The COVID-19 pandemic has caused chaos in the economy for more than a year, and now there’s a labor shortage. Last week Axios reported 10 million Americans out of work, yet there are 9 million vacant positions waiting to be filled. Employers are frustrated, sometimes offering higher wages and hiring bonuses to get the help they need. Others are opting to close businesses earlier or stay closed on less busy days because they don’t have the staff for normal hours. Some business owners are angry, blaming the government for the pandemic related unemployment insurance bonuses they see as motivation for workers to stay home. 

Are workers holding out for better wages, or is the pandemic still too large a threat to return to working in public? Is the pay offered simply too low to lure people into service or other low wage jobs? What about states offering incentives for workers to return, such as New Mexico’s recent return-to-work bonuses of up to $1,000 for people who transition from unemployment to work in the month of July? What’s keeping you from going back to work? How have you tried to staff up your business now that the state has dropped public health restrictions? 

Whether you’re a worker or an employer, we want to hear your story. Email LetsTalk@kunm.org, tweet #letstalkNM or call in live during the show. 





Kaveh Mowahed is a reporter with KUNM who follows government, public health and housing. Send story ideas to kaveh@kunm.org.
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