QUEENSBURY – Elected officials, business owners, investors and other professionals gathered Friday in the Mohican Ballroom at the Great Escape Lodge to discuss how Warren County can still succeed during the coronavirus crisis. work.
Dr. Rachel Sederberg, head of research for leading national labor market analysis firm Emsi Burning Glass, took to the podium at EDC Warren County’s annual luncheon with some grim news.
She said what most people are saying is that the labor situation will rectify itself as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to subside.
His grim news was that, unfortunately, that is not the case.
“Where are we going to find workers? We know this is a problem. We know it’s something that’s not going away,” she said.
The problem, she said, is that the number of unemployed people who are actively looking continues to decline. According to his research, people over 55 are increasingly leaving the workforce to retire, while others simply choose not to work, Sederberg said.
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Sederberg said that before the pandemic, the baby boomer generation was already aging out of the workforce.
She pointed out that the generation shaped the world we now live in.
The generation has not only seen women begin to enter the workforce at a higher rate and seen birth rates rise at the same time. Baby boomers have also generated significant wealth gains.
Sederberg said that was an important fact to keep in mind.
“From 1975 to 1995, there is an average household wealth gain of $42,000,” she said. “That’s crazy.”
Baby boomers began reaching retirement age around 2002, according to Sederberg, so they aren’t the only ones to blame.
The unemployment rate in the United States in February 2020 was at an all-time high just before the pandemic hit. This, added to the decline in the workforce thanks to the increase in retirement rates, still does not tell the whole story.
In February 2020, there were 7 million open jobs and just under 6 million unemployed looking for work.
“At that time (February 2020), we didn’t have enough workers for the number of openings we had. This was before COVID,” Sederberg said.
She said the only way to bring the workforce back to “healthy levels” is to actively seek out the disengaged population.
Without actively seeking ways to reach the disengaged demographic for potential employment, the job crisis will continue to deepen. Sederberg said the bottom line is that the nation needs 3 million to 5 million more workers just to meet the current needs of the economy.
In April, 43% of all citizens who were not in the labor market considered themselves retired. That leaves more than half the population out of the workforce that can help fill the county’s 100 million open jobs.
She said these people would be part of the solution.
“They were always there, always ready to work. Now we just have to go find them,” Sederberg said. “And accept that this is our new reality. So actively seek out the disengaged. Get your message across to people who aren’t in the job market.
Jay Mullen is a journalist for The Post Star covering the city of Glens Falls, Warren County and crime and the courts. You can reach him at 518-742-3224 or [email protected]