At restaurants across the country – from Albuquerque, New Mexico, to Fort Worth, Texas – the same sign is popping up: “We are short staffed. Please be patient with the staff that did show up. No one wants to work any more.”
The implication is that the federal government’s expanded unemployment benefits of $300 each week are keeping people at home instead of behind cash registers and in fast-food kitchens.
Unfortunately for them, what’s happening is a feature, not a bug, of the US economic system and the blame can’t entirely be placed on a $300 weekly check…
It is true that a sliver of people would rather stay home for a few months making as much, or more, from unemployment than they would defrosting meat patties or answering phones.
But would-be employees are also concerned about safety – 46% of the population hasn’t received a single vaccine dose and the spread of Covid-19 is uncontrolled in the US. Potential employees also have caregiving responsibilities: this recession has disproportionately affected women, who largely take up these duties and in late March more than half of schools were still doing remote learning or a combination of remote and in-person classes.
And that is making a serious difference!
This commentary is excerpted from an email I sent off literally 5 minutes before I saw tonight’s cartoon.
In the 1940’s – when I was a kid in elementary school and spring came around to the East End of Bridgeport, there were a couple of constants. (1) We’d get ready to start playing baseball, again. There always were seasonal pickup games of basketball or football; but, baseball was the sport for our neighborhood. (2) We’d look around as kids would start gathering to and from school, afternoon sports time, weekends – to see who died over winter.
Diphtheria vaccination was becoming widespread; still, we’d always lose at least one kid over winter. Going into spring and summer, polio was the scariest. There often was a survivor or two clattering through the neighborhood on crutches … And another one or two missing.
We learned to embrace vaccination, parents and kids alike, as the best modern survival medicine on Earth. I can’t recall more than one True Believer of the breast-beating Christian category who refused to be vaccinated. And, yes, he died before he was old enough to vote. My peers and I said, “he got what he deserved”.
Our government, our educators, have grown soft in the head and lax since the bad old days … Ignoring the propaganda of religious nutballs and ignoranus conservatives. They deserve the blame … and most of the responsibility to bring education and understanding back up to standard. In my not-at-all-humble opinion.
Fix it, brother!
Americans approach vaccination with the same intelligence, education and perseverance as we did every “gap” in that fairy tale period known as the COLD WAR. We’d rather die … than learn.
Amazon course work is acceptable to an overwhelming number of corporate HR departments. Have to think most universities would be capable of understanding the process.
Millions of people stuck at home for more than a year are expected to hit the road for much-needed post-pandemic vacations this summer. Good luck finding gas.
Not that there’s a looming shortage of crude oil or gasoline. Rather, it’s the tanker truck drivers needed to deliver the gas to stations who are in short supply.
According to the National Tank Truck Carriers, the industry’s trade group, somewhere between 20% to 25% of tank trucks in the fleet are parked heading into this summer due to a paucity of qualified drivers. At this point in 2019, only 10% of trucks were sitting idle for that reason.
“We’ve been dealing with a driver shortage for a while, but the pandemic took that issue and metastasized it,” said Ryan Streblow, the executive vice president of the NTTC. “It certainly has grown exponentially.”…
Not just any truck driver is allowed to drive a tanker truck. It requires special certification, including a commercial driver’s license, and weeks of training after being hired. And while the jobs are more attractive than some long-haul trucking jobs that can keep drivers away from home for days or weeks at a time, it is strenuous, difficult work.
Holly McCormick, who runs the workforce committee for NTTC, said another problem was the shutdown of many driver schools early in the pandemic. The pipeline of new drivers those schools would have produced has yet to be filled, she said. And then there’s a new federal clearinghouse that went online in January 2020 to identify truck drivers with prior drug or alcohol violations or failed drug tests, which knocked about 40,000 to 60,000 total drivers out of the national employment pool.