Labor shortages: a trend that’s sticking
An ag economist expects labor shortages to continue for the foreseeable future.
Nick Paulson with the University of Illinois says labor is in short supply with fewer people in the workforce compared to pre-pandemic levels.
“The outlook from our perspective is that’s probably not something change or adjust quickly, and we’ll continue to be operating in a tight labor market,” he says.
The unemployment rate has declined back below five percent which he says is higher than the years leading into the pandemic but is a low level by historic standards.
As inflation has caused costs to increase, Paulson says wage increases have also not kept pace.
“So an increase in nominal wages but probably a negative real wage growth when you include the effect of higher prices,” he says.
Paulson says where applicable, he expects labor issues to speed up the adoption of robotics to meet worker shortages.
During the virtual Illinois Farm Economics Summit, a poll of about 200 participants found about half of ag firms needed more workers but were not yet desperate.