How will the Supreme Court overturn of vaccine mandates impact the labor market?


We’re bringing to you a little piece today about the disruption in the labor markets. I just want to discuss briefly how is last week’s supreme court decision going to impact what’s going on already with the Great Resignation? I think it’s actually good news for the Great Resignation, but first I want to reflect back on a great piece from Inc. Magazine. It sort of shoots holes in the idea that “people are just lazy” and they don’t want to work. That never really held any water, as it would assume that a bunch of people just had plenty of funds and were working out of the kindness of their hearts or boredom. That’s not the case. There was an awful lot of money early on in 2020 and early ’22, as far as unemployment benefits, but by the second half most of that had trailed out.

What we did see through the disruption was several things: a lot of people took early retirement, a lot of people figured out other ways to make ends meet with their spouses or their partners, or a lot of people, which is what we’re seeing exactly in the Great Resignation, have found self-employment or going into business for themselves to be their path forward. What’s really going on is our system, the Department of Labor statistics, is not able to track that.

This article (linked above) is great, in that we now have some data. A couple of key points here: the labor department is tracking more than 500,000 new self-employed people. Those are unincorporated people that they get data for from the household surveys. There’s a 56% jump between ’19 and ’21 in tax ID number applications. My favorite is that the Etsy platform, where people sell their creative wares, had 2.6 million active sellers at the end of 2019… At the end of 2021? 7.5 million people are in the game of selling stuff and perhaps making a living off of that, which is fabulous.

I’m all for more people getting into the workforce, but what is last week’s employer mandate overturn going to do? As far as unemployment, I think it’s going to open some doors for a lot of people to go back to work for former employers or other companies. Very few companies actually put in the mandate themselves, such as Target. Others really took no position. They started inquiring about employee mandates. Other big companies didn’t quite know what to do. They were already short-handed and didn’t want to further exacerbate the problem by mandating vaccines. So this will give private employers the ability to figure out their own way forward, so I think it’s actually going to help the unemployment situation and perhaps ease what we’re feeling. Not everybody who starts self-employment is successful at it, so some of those people may also be ready to come back into the labor pool by now.

Those are my thoughts! Here’s another article from The New York Times that speaks to that. I think the Supreme Court decision is a positive for labor markets. Would love to hear from you, if you think otherwise. Thanks a lot for watching!

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