Solving the Nation’s Workforce Crisis is the Chamber’s No. 1 Priority
After 100 days of meetings and discussions with CEOs, small businesses, state and local chambers, members of Congress, cabinet secretaries, and heads of state, U.S. Chamber President and CEO Suzanne Clark penned an op-ed on what is needed to continue to grow the economy coming out of the pandemic.
Big government is often bound by small thinking. A number of the economic proposals coming out of Washington today may aspire to do everything all at once. But when you assume the government can and must do or direct everything, you limit what can actually be accomplished through innovation, enterprise, and human ingenuity—led by American businesses and people.
Solving the worker shortage crisis must be job No. 1. A lack of available workers is holding back business growth, threatening our recovery and competitiveness. We need to fill 9.3 million open jobs today and prepare workers for the jobs of tomorrow. Here’s how:
Remove barriers standing in the way of people returning to work
Expand employer-led solutions, such as apprenticeships and on-the-job training
Welcome global talent through legal, employment-based immigration and double the number of worker visas to bring a needed infusion of workers into our economy.
The worker shortage is real—and it’s crushing small businesses: Heading into the Fourth of July weekend, small businesses in tourism-heavy towns that endured a lost summer in 2020 find themselves struggling to survive a second straight year—this time, not because of occupancy restrictions and other health measures, but because they simply can’t fill jobs.
Take Rehoboth Beach on the Delaware coast (the focus of a new article published today), where small shops, restaurants, and inns are reducing operations and shuttering some locations altogether. One 20-year employer said “it’s hands down the worst staffing crisis we’ve ever had.” Another says “from a financial standpoint, we’re in survival mode.” A local chamber official called it “an employee drought,” while the state’s restaurant association called the worker shortage “an all-out crisis.”
Bottom line: Clark writes that we need big thinking and bold solutions to drive a great economic resurgence emerging from the pandemic. We need to put aside our differences, and let business lead the way.