As the United Sates’ unemployment rate remains consistent at 3.9%, numerous industries are currently facing labor shortages. More jobs are available than there are skilled workers to fill them, and with so many open positions to choose from, those seeking employment are being quite particular when selecting which jobs they apply to and which they choose to accept. It’s pretty clear how these labor shortages are negatively affecting employers, but this negative impact may soon extend to American consumers.
What kind of issues could American customers be facing if these labor shortages continue throughout 2018 and beyond? Read on to find out.
The construction industry has been one of the sectors of the economy most dramatically affected by labor shortages. It has roughly 200,000 monthly job openings, and those vacancies have made it much more difficult for small- and medium-sized construction businesses to complete projects in a timely fashion.
A lack of skilled employees in the manufacturing sector has only amplified problems in the construction industry and other fields similar to it. There have been issues along supply chains, leading in delivery delays of materials and goods needed for workers to fulfill their assignments.
The results of these labor shortages can negatively affect not only commercial construction projects but also residential construction projects as well, ensuring a direct and definitive impact on consumers who are attempting to build new homes.
Unsatisfying Customer Service
Labor shortages are also having a major impact on customer service, particularly in the retail and healthcare fields.
Part-time positions with a lack of benefits has led to a massive labor shortage in the retail industry, particularly in retail sales positions. A direct result of this is the decline in actual, physical retail stores, as many companies turn to online shopping and automated, electronic forms of customer service. If you are someone who dislikes not being able to talk to a real-life person on the phone or through a website’s chat feature, know that the retail industry’s labor shortages are a direct cause of this.
Similarly, hospitals are becoming more short-staffed than ever before, as a there is a lack of new, qualified employees, particularly nurses, who have been able to step in and replace retiring workers in the healthcare and social assistance sector. Currently, the industry averages one million monthly job openings, a staggering number.
Hospitals are attempting to attract more qualified candidates with larger bonuses and other perks, such as free housing, in order to replenish their staffs and keep from closing down. However, the money being used for these new incentives for workers is being taken from other important areas.
Higher Prices for Products
Due to these labor shortages throughout the United States, the cost of labor continues to rise across all industries. Increased wages and other financial incentives are becoming more and more common, and it’s only a matter of time until those labor costs start chipping into corporate profits.
When corporate profits begin to take a hit, companies will then try to recoup those losses by increasing prices. It doesn’t matter what the product is or which industry it is—if this labor shortage trend continues, costs of items will go up, and consumers will be the ones most harmed.
With so many job openings in numerous sectors, the labor shortage problem isn’t going away anytime soon.
It’s important for both workers in these industries to be aware of these issues, but it’s also key that consumers know about potential problems as well. These harmful side effects of the labor shortage crisis could become a reality very soon.
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