People leaving the workforce causing employment numbers to still be low, economist says

Local News

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Worker shortages continue across the country, new unemployment numbers show it at an all-time low. 

“It’s not going to be the same economy that we saw in 2019. That’s just not the way it’s going to be. We went through a huge shock,” said Teo Sepulveda an Economist at South Texas College.

Additionally, Sepulveda told ValleyCentral that during the months of March and April of 2020, 22 million jobs were lost. While that number can be scary, he said things are recovering. 

“The same amount of money that we used to spend before the pandemic we are back to normal. There is money in the economy, we are short on the restructuring of the economy,” he said.

Sepulveda explained that while the jobs are there, more and more people are getting out of the workforce. 

“Less of adults actively looking for a job, they got out of the labor market altogether. They are living off of their savings, or either they are living off of their families, whatever it is they did not come back,” he said.

Right now we are still around 4 million people behind from the peak of people employed before the pandemic hit, according to Sepulveda. He said there is still work to be done as the supply chain still needs to be rewired.

“The delivery process, the manufacturing process, the financial process of doing that, all that has to be rewired and in those places the money is not making it there because if money makes it there we’re trying to rewire and there’s no employment there,” he said.

While the main reason is the lack of worker interest, he explained that many have adapted to living on a lower income during the months of lockdown.

“A lot of workers can extend their unemployment even if they are not getting benefits they are able to extend because they have already learned to live at the lowest possible wage,” he explained.

Sepulveda is optimistic about the new year, he expects to have the same number of workers we had before the pandemic and adds things are slowly getting better. 

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