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Former Washington Journalist
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As some worry about a labor shortage, it’s good to remember that the US economy is hiring an unprecedented number of people at the moment — while other countries are reporting labor shortages of their own, according to an economist who was a top economic adviser for President Barack Obama.
The tail end of the COVID pandemic — and the success of President Biden’s recently approved American Rescue Plan — are combining to pull huge numbers of Americans into the workforce.
“I mean, the thing to remember is we never hired as many people as rapidly as the economy is doing right now. We’ve never grown as fast as we planned to be growing coming out of this downturn,” said Austan Goolsbee, who served as chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers during the Obama administration. “It’s interesting that in all of the countries, or in many of the countries where they’re coming out of COVID, if you look at the U.K., for example, they got a bunch of the same labor shortages and they can’t find chefs to cook in — in quick restaurants, and if they have summer camps, they’re going to be having the same problems.
“I do think a lot of this is just because, you know, when the town reopens after the winter, you’ve got to brush out the spiders, you’ve got to open a bunch of problems and hopefully they can be worked out over the short run,” Goolsbee added.
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