Why Doesn’t Anyone Want To Work?

The American Labor Crisis


Demetria Slyt, Editor

Within the past few years employment numbers have been dropping and job openings are cropping up all over the country. One of the biggest factors of this is the COVID-19 pandemic and the availability of  remote positions. A study found that the majority of individuals (around 80% of Americans) who worked from home during the first initial bout of the pandemic, preferred to continue working from home. Many people have also begun to have the mindset that work must oblige the wants/needs of life, rather than doing the opposite. Another factor in falling employment rates is the older generations retiring, or many experienced workers leaving seemingly all at once. But I do have some other ideas why this labor crisis may be happening. So, why don’t people want to work with so many positions available? Or why can’t people work? How are employers responding to this? What will this mean for the US economy? 

I think for a long time employers have been utilizing the old carrot and stick in regards to getting their employees to comply with the continuous stream of work demands. I believe finally it is not working and corporations do not know what else to do. I think part of the reason that people don’t want to work, despite the fact that businesses all over the country are looking for help, is that people know what their time is worth. Employees want better benefits, want to prioritize family time, and want more flexible work environments in general. Employers need to adapt to these ideals in order to stay afloat and have to use any tools in their tool belt to get eligible workers. Of course, this is only one possible factor, out of multiple other factors.  

Another reason is that people aren’t meeting employment standards, or there are systematic biases in place. I believe I mentioned this in a previous article where I went in depth about raising the minimum wage. If you want to check that article out, you can find it by following this link: https://dakotastudent.com/14697/opinion/making-a-living/. I feel as though employers have very unrealistic standards, asking for years of prior experience and asking their employees to take on responsibilities bigger than their job descriptions. Another aspect of this is showing biases against the older generation of workers. Convinced many may be overqualified, or may have a harder time keeping up or learning with younger employees. 

On top of this, people are afraid of getting sick during this pandemic. Employers are doing what they can to ensure safe work environments with mask mandates and asking customers to wear masks if they are not vaccinated. The pandemic has been a leading cause in unemployment rates. Many people were laid off at the beginning of the pandemic as the US went into lockdown,  many of us went online for school and work alike. The pandemic itself has had a negative impact on the economy overall. The labor crisis certainly has not done much good for the economy, but I think that the US economy has been broken since the great depression and beyond.  


Demetria Slyt is a Dakota Student Editor. She can be reached at [email protected].