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WTVM Editorial 5-7-21: Lots of Jobs, Not Enough Workers

Published: May. 31, 2021 at 9:46 AM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - April’s US jobs report just out says only 266,000 people found work last month – a long way from the 1 million new jobs experts predicted.

While that’s a disappointment, it’s clear the overall employment trend is looking up, thanks to COVID vaccinations and states not already open for business, finally opening their doors. The return to some kind of normalcy is actually creating a shortage of workers, not a shortage of jobs.

Here’s some evidence: new applications for jobless benefits fell sharply last week to just 498,000 – the lowest in 14 months.

The federal unemployment rate is now 6.1-percent, a nice rebound from the terrible 15-percent unemployment rate in April of last year.

Even better, Georgia’s unemployment rate is 4.5-percent and Alabama’s rate is lower still just 3.8-percent.

Contrast that to New York State’s stubbornly high 8.5-percent, which hasn’t budged in months, thanks to New York’s equally stubborn, business-killing Covid lockdown measures.

New York State’s terrible unemployment rate ranks 50 out of 50 states – the worst - while Georgia ranks 18th and Alabama takes the #9 position.

Clearly, it’s a good time to live in Georgia and Alabama.

In fact, the rapid economic turnaround here is giving some businesses a new kind of headache - that has nothing to do with the virus.

Business owners are finding it tough to hire enough workers to keep all shifts covered.

One reason might be the extra hundreds of dollars in federal and state aid included in the $1.9 trillion COVID package.

Complaints are that ex-employees can receive more money staying jobless, than returning to work.

But figures also show about 16 million people receive unemployment checks, down from the almost 17 million who took checks the previous week.

That means many Americans are taking jobs – which is a good sign.

All of this has been a lot of math, but just think of it this way.

It all adds up to better times ahead for everyone.

Many people thrown out of work because of the pandemic, especially in the hospitality industry, now see the light at the end of the tunnel…and for once in the past year and a half…this time, it isn’t an oncoming train.

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