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Bringing back a changing workforce: experts weigh in on the pandemic's impact on economy

local businesses bringing back workforce
Posted at 6:07 AM, Feb 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-22 11:08:35-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — There's thousands of job applications open in local businesses and on sites like Ziprecruiter, but not enough applicants. According to the Department of Labor, about five million people quit their jobs by the end of 2021.

From closed shops to work from home schedules, the pandemic changed the way people go to work. And the lack of employees at companies can drive up the prices of goods and services.

City of Tucson's Economics Initiatives Director Barbra Coffee said the workforce is changing and employers need to get creative in the way they offer jobs.

"I think employers are struggling to bring back a workforce that has changed," she said. "This is where employers are going to have to get creative and find way to entice workers back by creating the best work environment that they can."

According to lead economist at Ziprecruiter Sinem Buber, there's a high volume of applications on their site.

"Compared to 2020 in Feburary right before the pandemic, we had low 7 million of jobs opening in the u-s but now we have 10.9 million," Buber said.

She said with the stress from the last two years, she's seen many people quit their jobs because they are overwhelmed.

“When we look at people who quit their jobs, the main reason is too much stress,” Buber said.

University of Arizona research professor George Hammond said people are rethinking their careers, becoming more picky with what will cause them the least amount of stress.

“A lot of people are rethinking their lives, their career choices and how they work," he said.

He said while there's still workforce strains, the pandemic's impact on the economy is easing.

“I think we’ll see solid job growth over the next year, solid population gains and I think we will see income growth and overall sales growth slow,” he said.

Coffee said for businesses that need help, the City will have boots on the ground efforts

"We will be going out to our commercial corridor, knocking on doors and talking to businesses," Coffee said.