This issue has been on my mind. The supply chain has delays, there are so many vacancies, and many people not working. What’s wrong with the equation. Being from an East Coast Polish Family, hard work is in my gene pool. I have always felt a bit of happiness when a job is well done. What has happened to our workforce? The pandemic for sure has really highlighted the situation.
In California, like many parts of the world, the economy is dependent on tourism. This is from an article from a beach community. “Businesses are being impacted by labor shortages to a significant extent,” she said. “Many can’t be open at full capacity during the busy season, when they rely on making enough to carry them through the rest of the year.” On a community bulletin board outside of the Tofino Co-op Food Store, Shed restaurant advertised a $500 signing bonus for line-cooks and dishwashers. George said a recent hire quit because she couldn’t handle the workload. Another resigned because she didn’t feel comfortable engaging with so many tourists daily after being exposed to COVID-19.
In previous articles, I spoke about the unique challenges affecting the restaurant industry. As one of the industries that were most impacted by the pandemic over the past year, restaurants are now facing another major challenge to their business—a massive shortage of labor. The nationwide shutdown forced restaurant owners to lay off a large percentage of their workforce. Those establishments unable to pivot and provide takeout, curbside, or delivery were forced to close or hang on by a thread. President Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act saved some food establishments through the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF). However, some aid given to unemployed servers and kitchen staff seems to have created a new problem. Staffers are making more money staying home collecting aid than they would by working. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) has been extended through September for workers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. This means already flailing food establishments are scrambling to find qualified workers. The hardest hit has been the quick-service restaurant sector. However, there are shortages throughout the entire foodservice industry. The toughest positions to fill right now are kitchen roles and servers. Federal unemployment benefits are an additional $300 per week on top of the state benefit amount.
In the health care sector, I looked to the CDC to see what their opinion was: Maintaining appropriate staffing in healthcare facilities is essential to providing a safe work environment for healthcare personnel (HCP) and safe patient care. As the COVID-19 pandemic progresses, staffing shortages will likely occur due to HCP exposures, illness, or the need to care for family members at home. Healthcare facilities must be prepared for potential staffing shortages and have plans and processes in place to mitigate these, including communicating with HCP about actions the facility is taking to address shortages and maintain patient and HCP safety and providing resources to assist HCP with anxiety and stress.
Long-term care facilities like Vernon Hall, in Vermont, along with health agencies and adult daycare centers across the state, are struggling to hire and retain nurses, licensed nursing assistants, and caregivers in the midst of a shortage. The Covid-19 pandemic sent costs mounting and revenue plummeting in the senior care industry, and the continued shortage in a sector that has long struggled to attract and retain staff is causing widespread financial distress and triggering closings across the state. Vermont’s population is aging, which means demand for its services continues to rise. Some facilities are turning away Vermonters who need high-level care because they don’t have the staff to provide it.
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in over 4.3 million confirmed cases and over 290,000 deaths globally. It has also sparked fears of an impending economic crisis and recession. Social distancing, self-isolation, and travel restrictions have led to a reduced workforce across all economic sectors and caused many jobs to be lost. Schools have closed, and the need for commodities and manufactured products has decreased. In contrast, the need for medical supplies has significantly increased. The food sector is also facing increased demand due to panic buying and stockpiling of food products. In response to this global outbreak, we summarize the socio-economic effects of COVID-19 on individual aspects of the world economy.
The major industries that have been impacted, Agriculture, Petroleum and Oil, Manufacturing, Education, Finances, Healthcare, Pharmaceutical, Tourism, Aviation, Hospitality, Sports, Real estate, and Housing, and of course, Food.
No area has been left alone. Fields like Research and Development, Technology, Media have all felt the shift especially now, post-pandemic. The Socio-Economic impact will be felt for quite some time.
What’s the conclusion? With fears of a new recession and financial collapse, times like these call for resilient and strong leadership in healthcare, business, government, and wider society. Immediate relief measures need to be implemented and adjusted for those that may fall through the cracks. Medium- and longer-term planning is needed to re-balance and re-energise the economy following this crisis. A broad socioeconomic development plan including sector-by-sector plans and an ecosystem that encourages entrepreneurship is also needed so that those with robust and sustainable business models can flourish. It is prudent that governments and financial institutions constantly re-assess and re-evaluate the state of play and ensure that the ‘whatever it takes’ promise is truly delivered.
What’s the solution? Is there one? The world is morphing into a new mode of business and we all will have to adapt to adjust. With natural disasters, outbreaks, crime increases, we will see great change in the way businesses survive. “I think just the recipe for success in these times is just to be really fluid to really try and take care of the crew that you have, and just make sure that they’re, you know, super happy and that everybody is performing at their best,” he said.