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6 Reasons Why Americans Refuse To Get Back To Work

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Despite inflation and a pandemic, a record number of Americans are refusing to get back to work. Job openings are near record highs while hourly pay rates are rising. Given all these, conditions should encourage a hiring boom in the US labor market. However, the reverse is happening.  

After surging in the early half of this year, job growth slowed down considerably by September. With numerous job openings and offers of higher pay, why are many Americans still reluctant to get back to work?

According to economists, there were many reasons that stopped many Americans from going back to work. Here are six reasons why. 

RELATED: 4.3M American Workers Quit Their Jobs to Look for New Ones

Reason 1: COVID-19

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The fear of contracting COVID-19 at the workplace became a legitimate concern early on in the pandemic. Now, with cases spiking again during August and September, it’s not surprising to see that job growth slowed during these months.

Compared to 1.1 million new jobs in July and 962,000 in June, only 366,000 new workers signed up in August. By September, new workers totaled a measly 194,000. 

According to Daniel Zhao, senior economist at Glassdoor, the pandemic continues to hold sway over careers. “The September jobs report is a reminder that the pandemic is still what controls our recovery.

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The pandemic is still keeping workers out of the labor force.” he said. Apart from the lackluster new jobs, a record 4.3 million Americans quit their jobs in August.

Frontline positions in foodservice and retail accounted for most resignations. Meanwhile, Zhao hopes that job signings should take off once COVID-19 cases go down. 

Reason 2: Early Retirement

Unsurprisingly, the pandemic gave many work veterans a reason to retire early. With older Americans more prone to infections from coronavirus, many senior employees thought now was the best time to pack up.

Some experts also suggest that older workers who are grandparents offered to take care of their grandchildren. They did so to help the kids’ parents with childcare duties as they needed to get back to work. 

Aaron Sojourner, a labor economist at the University of Minnesota, said that the pandemic helped workers on the fence about retiring make a decision. “All those things would push especially hard on people in their 60s to come out of the labor force,” he said.

Compared to 2019, around 3.6 million American workers said that they don’t want a job right now. Those aged 55 or older accounted for 89% of the group. 

Reason 3: Child Care issues

Taking care of the household took a new meaning during the pandemic. As schools closed, kids had to stay home and off the streets. The closure of malls, retail shops, bars, restaurants, and convenience stores meant nobody can go anywhere else to hang out.  

With schools opting for remote learning, kids can now attend school without leaving their homes. Which means somebody had to be there to take care of them.

Managing the household will definitely provide less time for Americans to return to work. Parents would also think twice before getting a job that can potentially transport the virus from the workplace to their homes.  

Reason 4: Savings

Compared to pre-pandemic levels, many households managed to save more money as shutdowns forced everybody to stay home. According to JPMorgan Chase Institute, cash balances were up 50% for the typical household in July 2021. 

In addition, the generous amounts that the federal government gave to American households as a stimulus also added more to their budgets. A

ccording to Fiona Greig, co-president of the institute, workers feel they have a bigger buffer they can live on without needing to risk getting a job right now.

“They don’t have to find a job at this moment,” she added.  Then, the government also provided temporary relief for home rentals and student loans.

Add the fact that people have nowhere to go to spend money. These factors all led to many Americans getting comfortable living on their savings for the meantime. 

Reason 5: Salaries

Wages rose more than 4.5% on average compared to last year. However, many Americans are still holding off getting back to work. Many think that the higher pay won’t offset the decrease in job quality.

This is especially true in service jobs like restaurants, bars, and retail. The risk of infection, dealing with unruly customers, and difficult commutes for the same salary won’t cut it for many workers. 

On the other hand, other workers armed with savings are waiting for further raises in job offers. 

With corporations reporting record profits, many workers know that employers will need to offer pay raises even more to attract workers. “The big question is, why aren’t companies bidding up wages and working conditions fast enough to pull people off the sidelines?” Sojourner said.

Reason 6: Time

Given the disruptions caused by the pandemic and how they affected the economy, it will take some time for markets to sort things out. Zhao believes that “getting people back into jobs isn’t something you can do at the snap of a finger.” 

Many workers who left their jobs will want to sort out their careers in light of the pandemic. They will reassess what kind of work they plan to pursue in the future.

They may also consider the policies of their former employers that they don’t agree with at present. For example, many executives want workers to return to the office full-time. Many workers would rather wait for the pandemic to clear before agreeing to do so.  

Watch the CNBC video reporting on The Great Resignation: Why Millions Of Workers Are Quitting:

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Do you agree with the reasons why many Americans refuse to get back to work? Which reason do you think resonates most with you?

Let us know what you think. Share your thoughts below.

21 Comments

21 Comments

  • Duane says:

    The population is simply lazy! The younger generation especially… now with loan forgiveness , stimulus payments, rent deferrals…. they are sitting at home playing with their electronics and mooching off of those of us who work for a living.. Make all the excuses you want… but there are no REASONS to not get back to work. Leaching from the government and killing our economy, they don’t care that they are killing our nation… big government and the current administration are getting just what they want… dependency on the government…. socialism. It’s sad…

  • N says:

    Stop the Socialist/CommunistMarxist tactics bring back Freedom in AMERICA!!!

  • The professor says:

    And don’t forget about grocery store prices …..I went to Costco the other day just to stock up on toilet paper and paper towels and I glanced in the seafood section….. there was a package of four crabs legs they were 2 inches wide 9 inches long ….$70…inside those legs that was maybe a 1/4 pound of meat naturally I didn’t buy them……. but I did buy a case of toilet paper a case of paper towels a case of bottled water some laundry detergent and some canned tuna fish it came to $94 …. ouch !!! So good luck shoppers

  • Mike says:

    Many thousands leave their jobs because of the vaccination mandate. How is this not even on the list?

  • Donna says:

    Stimulus check? What a joke. A few months ago my husband and I received a letter from the IRS stating that we were overpaid and had to pay back several hundred dollars. How do you calculate that?!? Both retirees, we had to dip into savings to do that. With the price of everything higher than it was this time last year, we took a hit. With prices so high, rarely can I get out of the grocery store for less than $100 and that may include one or two packs of “cheaper” meat. And the country was doing much better last year. 🤔

  • Cfelan says:

    If the government is paying out an extra $300 a week in benefits, why would someone with minimum wage earning skills go to work? Uncle Sam just paid more than they make in a week after you subtract for child care and transportation.

  • Jean Whitney says:

    Absolutely sickens me how there are so many people with so little integrity! The kind our parents and Grandparents had! Our government has ruined its people! It once stood for honor and the people we had chosen to govern actually cared about the people they represented! Too many of our elected officials have gotten rich and have been swayed by rich social techs and wealthy business people with their own agenda! I also believe that our children have swayed from any type of religion so they don’t feel accountable for their actions! If we continue down this road ,and if people who actually care sit on the sidelines, the world we use to know will be long gone! Take away the free stuff and quit helping every country on the planet, let’s get our country strong and respected and stop destroying the past! We need to know our past so as not to make the same mistakes!

  • Jake O says:

    Mike is totally right! How on earth did the experimental “vaccine” mandate not make the list? And yes, the “vaccine” is still in trial phase, they aren’t using the approved one, it’s called bait and switch. That is a huge reason for job losses. As for myself and my family, we would not quit but we would stick it out until we were forced to leave via any mandate. The Bible says that if a man does not work then he should not eat. There are obviously exceptions to the rule, physically/mentally disabled, children, etc. Our highest levels of government are not for the people anymore.

  • Freedom says:

    This is a ridiculous article! The real reason why people aren’t getting back to work is the mandate for vaccination. The leadership in this country has gone Marxist and Socialistic and is ensuring everyone takes the vaccination at all cost; even at the expense and risk of our economy. Stop telling us all how we should live and what we should put into our bodies and enforcing such nonsense with vaccination and mask mandates. Remove and get rid of this and you will see people get back to work and the economy recover.

  • Jean Calton says:

    We have allowed God to be removed from schools and books and what do we expect? Morals have gone out the window and the government who works for the people have forgotten the core values of this country. We are quickly turning into a socialist Marxist country and have become very complacent about the good values slipping away that now things, once considered “evil” by a society, have been accepted and even legalized. Everyone’s comments above are so spot-on. How do we return it to a proud and strong Nation?

  • Chas says:

    Jab mandates you freaking fools who ever put this list together…!!!!!

  • Oscar Pearson says:

    The whatever you call it generation will not work when they get free stuff. Cut off all handouts and they will have no choice but to go find a job.

  • TrashMan says:

    Covid is not new, we have known about this since era of the 1940’s if not longer. Nobody dies from stage 4 cancer anymore, automobile wrecks, strokes, aneurism, heart failure or any thing else. Everything is Covid related now & it’s nothing but a lie. Dr. says you die from Covid but medical science says differently so what’s the truth. It’s all a scheming lie of control. Now everyone wants to use this a an excuse not to work & the government can control you…. It’s pure laziness, stop the free money & corporate greed & make America Great again!

  • Jada says:

    It’s not surprising to see people not wanting to go back to work. When you have the option to sit on your butt at home, receive free medical care, free money from the government, food stamp benefits, child tax credits…hell, why would you want to work? As for those tax credits, what about those of us who are still working and have grown children. Do we not count anymore? Just because you do not have a child under the age of 17, you don’t get a weekly helping hand? Stop paying and giving away everything the rest of us work so hard to get. I have the same opinion as another person on here. The prices of groceries/supplies is just ridiculous! I have seen a 30% increase in can vegetables in just two weeks! They are letting everyone with a pulse cross the southern border, handing them cash and sending them into our streets, only to give them free weekly checks, food, and health care. I’m tired of being ignored. I’m tired of working my backside off to just barely make ends meet. It’s not my employer’s fault. It’s THE ELECTED OFFICIALS causing this mess. Destroying our way of life. It’s time to put a stop to them and their Socialist mindsets. GET AMERICA BACK TO WORK! STOP PUSHING US AROUND! STOP THE MANDATES! STOP THE OVERREACH OF THE GOVERNMENT!

  • Rod Wiggins says:

    The additional money added to to the unemployment benefit is log gone as far as I know. This shouldn’t even be a choice to vote on

  • Anonymous says:

    A lot of people refuse to get the vaccine! If they would quit trying to push that on people that would be a lot more people working!

  • Mari says:

    I’m looking for work but need to work from home – either with a smaller company or do 1099 work since I refuse to be a part of the world’s largest lab experiment and take the jab. If fewer companies were mandating the shots, then more people would be willing to work for them instead of leaving. The government doesn’t acknowledge what a large portion of the population this is.

  • Tom says:

    I can’t believe the person who wrote this article believes the bullshit about people not working because they are afraid of the virus. That’s a load of crap. The truth is, the lazy people know if they say “I’m afraid of the virus” that the government will continue to give them freebies. That’s the cold hard facts.

  • Tom says:

    Donna, it’s a bullshit letter from the IRS. I got the same letter, the problem is, I never got any stimulus money. It’s a scam.

  • David says:

    People are brainwashed, and there was never a fear of covid because it has never been isolated or purified, and the gene therapy was designed based on symptoms. Fauci’s words, not mine. Also, the fact that mandated jabs isn’t on the list is laughable.

  • Emmett Fields says:

    Workers are finally fed up with the rude and disrespectful attitude from entitled, arrogant customers. Either these businesses start cracking down these rude customers, or the business owner will be forced to shut down. The “customer is always right” BS needs to stop. The worker now is the boss, not the customer.

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