POLL: Majority Of Unemployed Americans Not Very Actively Looking For Employment Amid Worker Shortage

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Taylor Giles Contributor
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The U.S. Chamber of Commerce published a poll Thursday showing less than half of Americans who lost their job during the coronavirus pandemic and are currently unemployed are actively seeking employment.

The Chamber polled 529 Americans between Nov. 2-9 who lost jobs throughout the pandemic and are still not working full time, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The poll had a margin of error +/- 4.3% at the 95% confidence level.

The poll found that 56% of unemployed workers think they can go more than six months without returning to work full time, with 11% saying more than a year and 15% saying they will never need to work full time again.

The Chamber’s Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley believes the issue is larger than the pandemic.

“For example, only 22 percent report that the end of the pandemic would cause them to increase their urgency to return to work, and only seven percent report that schools and daycare center in their community fully reopening would cause them to increase their urgency,” Bradley wrote in a Fox Business opinion piece.

Job openings in June spiked to an all-time high of 10.1 million, according to prior reporting. Businesses reported hiring 6.7 million workers the same month, but layoffs, firings and resignations increased to roughly 5.6 million.

“Every day, we see more evidence of a worsening worker shortage,” U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Suzanne P. Clark said. (RELATED: POLL: Nearly 2 Million Americans Ducked Job Search Due To Pandemic Benefits)

“With businesses across the country and in every industry struggling to find workers, it is deeply concerning that 35% of the unemployed say they are not very active in looking for work – or not working at all,” Clark added. “Policymakers at every level of government must act with urgency to get people back to work and help accelerate the economic recovery.”

More than 1 in 10 unemployed workers said they have left multiple jobs during the coronavirus pandemic, according to the poll. Almost 1/3 of unemployed workers would also prefer to work in an entirely different industry.

Weekly unemployment claims hit 199,000 for the week ending Nov. 13, a 52-year low. President Joe Biden credited his pandemic agenda for the so-called recovery.

“It is increasingly clear that the workforce challenges facing our country extend beyond those induced by the pandemic and we cannot simply assume that people will return to the workforce,” Clark said.

“Our continued recovery and future prosperity require that policymakers focus on how we expand the labor force, including through addressing barriers to employment, rightsizing and targeting government benefits, and attracting more qualified workers by doubling the cap on employment-based visas,” Clark added.