Workers Show Signs Of Returning As Delta Surge Fades

Off the Charts: The Visual Says It All

Receptionist taking cardkey from guest at hotel
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More people are looking to get back to work—a sign the labor shortage may finally be easing, according to a new survey.

The share of adults either working or actively looking for work recovered all the ground lost over the summer as the delta variant of the coronavirus spread, researchers at Morning Consult said Thursday. The data intelligence company, which polls  6,000 Americans every day, said its weekly labor force participation rate improved in October to 54.2%, the highest level since early July, just before COVID-19 cases began surging again, as the chart below shows:

The labor participation rate has remained stubbornly low, even as the economy has bounced back from last year’s recession. But the Morning Consult measure, which is updated weekly and covers the entire month of October, suggests a turning point may be coming as the economy shows more resilience with each new wave of infections. 

“Just as businesses struggle to make long-term investment decisions amid uncertainty, so do workers,” said John Leer, chief economist at Morning Consult. “If they think they may get laid off every time cases increase, they may not want to commit to absorbing those one-off upfront costs to find and start a new job. This eases some of that uncertainty.” 

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