The economy is making a slight comeback since COVID-19 hit a year and a half ago. Although restrictions have been lifted and businesses have opened their doors, many people have yet to go back to work.
Grace Whittington, the owner of HomeQuarter Coffeehouse in Saskatoon, mentioned she has struggled to hire more full-time employees.
The problem seems to be there are not many applicants, and even when someone does apply, they do not go through the rest of the hiring process.
“We went through this, oh, maybe 10 years ago when it was very difficult to hire people. It’s that way again now,” said Whittington.
Although her business is struggling to hire, she understands the reasons for some people to still be at home.
“They still have child-care issues that they have to address. Maybe a job where you have to be on-site is not something that they’re ready or able to do at the moment.”
HomeQuarter has not gone back to regular hours and does not plan on returning any time soon.
They also did not bring people back to work too quickly because there was not enough business to sustain employee wages.
“We just didn’t have the walk-in traffic to support that,” said Whittington.
Economist Jason Childs says the issue is not jobs themselves since there are plenty available, but the number of people looking to work.
“The problem is not the demand side of the labour markets, it’s the supply side. We aren’t seeing labour force participation return to normal levels. We aren’t seeing people stepping up to take those jobs that they would have taken prior to the pandemic.”
Childs is also concerned that workers may not re-enter the workforce in large numbers any time soon.
This means that inflation could potentially drive even higher, further damaging the bottom line of businesses and consumers.