ISSUE 2: How is the 2021 labor crisis affecting student workers?

The current labor shortage in America is proving positive to students, but detrimental to companies.


Photo Jadyn Grayes

A graphic depicting the urgency of companies to fill empty job positions.

Jadyn Grayes, Staff Writer

The labor shortage in 2021 while helping most students looking for employment, is destroying companies struggling to fill spots.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has declared this shortage a workforce crisis.  According to the U.S.
Bureau of Labor Statistics there are 11 million job openings in the United States, with many of these openings in retail and restaurants.

Hailey Green (’23) sorts clothing on the racks of the boutique she currently works at. Many students are feeling the effects of the current labor problems. Photo Juno Le

This can affect workers in many ways, especially employees still in school. A lot of workplaces recently looking to hire people that reach certain criteria are lowering these requirements because of the lack of workers available to take most of the jobs offered.

One of the common blames for people quitting at a higher rate this year is low pay.

“I personally think the labor crisis might be mainly due to low pay. I’ve heard a couple of my older coworkers talk about how they’re not making enough to sustain themselves, and I’ve known a couple of people who have had to quit because they needed a higher paying job,” Gia Fogg (’23) said about her experience with people in her workplace quitting. Fogg currently works at Marco’s Pizza.

Another reason for the abundance of job openings is workers being treated poorly.

“From personal experience, I think part of the issue could be workers being treated badly. At my last job, I did not have a very pleasant experience…As a result of her [the owner] aggressive treatment, they lost many staff members and had to shut their doors down,” Hailey Green (’23) said, addressing her previous bad work experiences and sharing how they could add to the current crisis.

While this shortage of employees is having a greater negative effect on companies struggling to fill spots, it has proved as an advantage for some students looking for employment.

Many student workers have found it easier to get jobs in 2021. This could be due to companies lowering their requirements for employees out of desperation to fill empty spots.

“It was pretty easy to find the job that I have right now. I only spent about 2 or 3 weeks applying for different jobs, and then found this one,” Alessandra Hollyfield (’23) said, who currently works at Trattoria Pasquale, an Italian Restaurant.

As can be seen, restaurants seem to be struggling more with people quitting and filling empty spots. Meanwhile, some other companies are less affected by America’s current crisis.

“Barnes and Noble is definitely not short on staff we are in fact overflowing…almost everyone on our staff except for me and two others are all out of high school and college,” Lexington Burgees (’23) said.

The 2021 labor shortage in the US has been negatively affecting companies small and large all year. It has also been an advantage to unemployed teens, and will hopefully encourage more students to apply for jobs.