Advertisement

Labor force participation dips amid “Great Resignation”

The labor participation rate is a better indicator of whether or not we have enough people to fill the available jobs.
Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 5:49 PM MST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — Stories of local companies struggling to hire enough employees continue to make headlines.

Now, experts are coining a new term called ‘The Great Resignation’, which refers to why many people are leaving the workforce or not going back.

The unemployment rate in South Central Idaho is at 2.5% according to the Department of Labor.

The Department tells KMVT that that’s considered close to full employment.

What people may not realize, however, is that it comes down to labor participation. The labor participation rate is a better indicator of whether or not we have enough people to fill the available jobs.

“Which takes the number of people that are currently in the labor force and we divide them by the population in that specific area that is 16 and above,” said labor economist Bonang Seoela.

The labor participation rate is a better indicator of whether or not we have enough people to fill the available jobs.

“Before the pandemic hit, the labor participation rate for south-central (Idaho) was around 64%, and now it is around 63%,” said labor economist Bonang Seoela. “So there are relatively fewer people that were in the labor force prior to the pandemic.”

The question now is, what happened that made people want to leave their current job, or the workforce entirely?

According to Dr. Russ Tremayne, Associate Professor Emeritus, that question is a tough one to answer.

“Kind of a psychology of we work too much, life is too short, people took time off, or were paid to take time off, and then decided that maybe going back to work isn’t for them, there are other things that are more important,” said Tremayne.

Part of the equation is mothers or mother figures who were forced to leave their jobs while their kids had to stay home.

A survey by Seramount says 1/3 of all mothers have left the workforce since the pandemic began, that’s roughly 8 million workers.

“People leaving the workforce, women because of the family situation, lots more women have left, and maybe not returned and that probably will change down the road, but if my kids don’t go to school, and in that way the pandemic, with kids staying home and parents going home and not being able to go back to work because of that situation,” said Tremayne.

Idaho currently has the 4th best unemployment rate in the country.

Copyright 2021 KMVT/KSVT. All rights reserved.