The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is launching America Works, an initiative dedicated to addressing the nationwide labor shortage that is now reaching crisis-level proportions as the world reopens post-pandemic.
“As we stand on the cusp of what could be a great American resurgence, a worker shortage is holding back job creators across the country,” U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Suzanne Clark said in a press release on Tuesday (June 1).
“When you lead the world in talent, you lead the world in solutions,” Clark added.
There were 8.1 million job openings as of March 2021, a new record high. For every opening, there are about 50 percent fewer potential employees available as there have been on average over the past 20 years, according to the organization.
The U.S. Chamber is advocating for training programs that would help people fill jobs that are in high demand. The agency also is striving to remove barriers to employment and double the number of work visas available to eligible immigrants. The Chamber is also calling on the business community to push for the same measures.
“This is Operation Warp Speed for Jobs,” Clark said. “We’re helping our members address the worker shortage by bringing the full strength of the Chamber’s advocacy muscle to this urgent crisis.”
Last month, the U.S. Chamber called for an end to pandemic unemployment, which has boosted the pay for 25 percent of filers compared to what they would make if they headed back to the workforce.
This historic demand for workers is also coinciding with record unemployment, which some have said is due to the pandemic’s boost to jobless benefits. Unemployed workers in higher-paying states make about $600 per week — roughly $15 to $16 per hour. The hourly federal minimum wage is $7.25.
Restaurants, after having experienced among the biggest business setbacks during the pandemic, are now scrambling to fill positions as dining rooms start filling up again.
The May Main Street report by PYMNTS shows that some small businesses are hiring temporary and part-time help as a way to get work done and save a bit on salary overhead.