Friday, October 22 2021

Delta Air Lines is one of a growing number of companies demanding COVID-19 vaccines for workers.
Source: Delta Air Lines Inc.

Vaccination warrants in the United States could help boost the labor market as employment gains begin to slow, economists say.

While the healthcare industry has long demanded vaccines for workers, mandates are expanding to other sectors. Companies like Alphabet Inc., Delta Air Lines Inc. and Citigroup Inc. are now requiring certain employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, and these self-imposed rules are endorsed by the White House. On September 9, President Joe Biden announced new rules requiring vaccines or regular testing for federal workers and employees of companies with more than 100 people, which could apply to as many as 100 million American workers.

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The plan faces backlash from Republicans and vaccine opponents, but experts say the warrants will help Americans get back to work as job growth slows. The United States created 235,000 jobs in August, well below expectations after a string of nearly one million monthly job gains in the previous months. Health and childcare issues are also preventing people from working, as the variant of the delta coronavirus pushes the number of daily cases considerably higher than a few months earlier.

“The idea that you can go to work safely and know that everyone is vaccinated is a big plus for a lot of people,” said Erica Groshen, senior economics advisor at the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University and former commissioner of the US Office. labor statistics.

Businesses move on their own

Before Biden’s announcement, more than half of employers were considering mandates for workers, according to an August survey by global insurance broker Willis Towers Watson PLC of 961 companies that employ a total of 9.7 million. of workers. Almost 60% of the companies surveyed were also monitoring the vaccination status of employees.

Companies cited the surge in COVID-19 cases linked to the delta variant as the reason for their own vaccine needs. Daily new cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reached more than 163,000 as of September 15, down from less than 10,000 in mid-June.

Other mandates also extended to restaurants, retailers and other businesses in all industries. The healthcare industry, where other vaccine requirements for workers are common, is also grappling with the problem.

“The main consideration I have heard in conversations with hospital leaders is that it is really about ensuring the safety of staff, patients and communities,” said Akin Demehin, director of policy at the hospital. American Hospital Association business group.

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Enthusiasm under control

In the United States, just over 60% of people aged 18 to 64 – the bulk of the working-age population – have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with some states reporting levels as low as 40% , according to an S&P Global Market Intelligent Data Analysis from the CDC. The vaccination rate in the United States – 66% of adults and less than 55% of the total population – is lower than in the United Kingdom with more than 81% of those 16 and over and in Europe with around 72% of adults , according to government data.

This low rate and the rise of the delta variant in the United States dampened enthusiasm for a return to normal as the economy rolled slowly, said Groshen of Cornell. This uncertainty adds flows and turmoil in the labor market, as the United States still lacks 5.3 million jobs at pre-pandemic levels, according to Labor Department figures.

Vaccination mandates can cause workers to actively seek out companies in need of the vaccines, Groshen said. Those worried about catching COVID-19 or taking it home to their families won’t have to wonder if their coworkers are vaccinated if the company demands it.

“If they trust their employer and the employer says, ‘It’s safe, and we really need you to get it,’ I think you’re going to see that push people to get vaccinated, ‘ Groshen said. “If you have a lot of people who are hesitant in one way or another, then a clear prompt like ‘My employer requires it’ may suffice.”

Employees who already enjoy the vaccine will also be happy to stay with their company, so a tenure could increase retention as well.

“People who are skeptical [of the vaccine] are the most vocal, but when it comes to those who vote with their feet, most people are either vaccinated or say they are going to get it done, “Groshen said.

Even if a vaccination warrant forces workers to quit their jobs or not apply to companies with such demands, the effect on job growth can only be short-term and probably minimal, said Joel Naroff, President of Naroff Economics.

Workers who don’t want to be vaccinated will most likely face hurdles in finding a company that doesn’t require the vaccine and is willing to hire someone who isn’t vaccinated, Naroff said.

Slower employment growth

Job gains are expected to pick up from the August low, but remain slower than the hiring surge at the start of the year, Naroff said. The United States could create up to 1.5 million to 2 million new jobs in the last four months of the year.

“You can’t keep hiring a million workers a month, no matter how many job postings there are,” Naroff said. “There is too much friction and too much mismatch between the unemployed and job vacancies in the labor market for this to be sustainable.”


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