Minnesota’s workforce has shrunk during the pandemic, and it’s no surprise.
Businesses, sometimes shutting down entirely, have skyrocketed in the burden of childcare, education and other family obligations, hitting women especially hard.
But Minnesota demographer Susan Brower says the workforce hasn’t recovered.
“Despite a significant recovery in the pre-pandemic labor force participation rate, Minnesota still has about 90,000 fewer workers than it did pre-pandemic,” Paul.
She told the crowd that the state had one of the tightest labor markets in the country, and said there was no easy solution to getting workers on state payroll.
“The number of people who can work in Minnesota today will be very close to how many people will be able to work in 10, 15, 20 years from now, unless we see some pretty big changes that we haven’t seen recently. It’s the past.” Brauer said.
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Blower said automation can’t fill the gap and that other options are limited. Because demographics are the ultimate cause of workers going “missing.”
“It’s not a big resignation. It’s not mothers, by and large, who stay outside the workforce. Economists looked at where the missing are and found that an aging workforce is leading to lower labor force participation.” “We’re seeing more and more seniors in their late 50s and early 60s,” Bauer told a group of dozens of state legislators and soon-to-be-members. said.
She said Nordic countries have similar problems and have tried to encourage more children to deal with labor shortages, but “it hasn’t worked.”
Brower said the only intermediate solution is likely to be through foreign immigration and migration from other states. Ironically, she said climate change could make Minnesota more attractive.
She told employers to focus in the short term on retaining current workers with flexible schedules, work-family balance, and other considerations.
“For those who can, now is the time to make your job as attractive as possible and reward your employees as much as possible,” she said. “The power has really shifted to what workers want. They have more options and will make the choices they need for themselves and their families.”
She urged Minnesota legislators to support policies that improve job quality, including open career trajectories, training opportunities, and providing more opportunities for workers of color and workers with disabilities. He said the best advice is to focus.