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MNI: Fed's Barkin Fears Persistently Short Labor Supply

(MNI) WASHINGTON

Richmond Fed president says Covid may have left the U.S. with fewer workers for a while.

The Covid-19 pandemic may have left the U.S. with a persistent labor shortage that will put a lid on growth while keeping inflation higher, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond President Thomas Barkin said Friday.

Labor force participation has fallen more than 1 percentage point compared to early 2020 and there are many reasons to think it might not recover, Barkin said. Unemployment has regained its pre-pandemic lows, but even after businesses and schools reopened and vaccines became widely available, participation remained stubbornly below its pre-Covid levels. The labor force participation rate in November dropped another tenth to 62.1%.

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The Covid-19 pandemic may have left the U.S. with a persistent labor shortage that will put a lid on growth while keeping inflation higher, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond President Thomas Barkin said Friday.

Labor force participation has fallen more than 1 percentage point compared to early 2020 and there are many reasons to think it might not recover, Barkin said. Unemployment has regained its pre-pandemic lows, but even after businesses and schools reopened and vaccines became widely available, participation remained stubbornly below its pre-Covid levels. The labor force participation rate in November dropped another tenth to 62.1%.

Keep reading...Show less