Labor shortages reflect a change in workforce behavior and is causing changes, cancellations for some Lehigh Valley events and businesses

Written by on September 27, 2021

Labor shortages reflect a change in workforce behavior and is causing changes, cancellations for some Lehigh Valley events and businesses

By Megan Frank

September 27, 2021

A “Now Hiring” sign is displayed on a business window, Thursday, March 4, 2021, in Salem, N.H. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Labor shortages are happening across the country and the problem is hitting home in the Lehigh Valley. 

Listen to the story.

Bethlehem’s Moravian Historical Society has canceled its annual Harvest Festival due to staffing shortages for its vendors. And a Berks County winery, Folino Estate, has cut its dining hours due to limited personnel. 

Chris Ruebeck is an associate professor of economics at Lafayette College. He says workforce vacancies are often happening because people are caring for loved ones now at home. He says people are also reassessing what work means.

“It’s not just people making a choice. It’s also people being constrained by demands on their time, either from the elderly that they may be taking care of or even the children that they may be taking care of,” said Ruebeck. “All of that adds up, though, to people thinking twice about what it means to work and what kinds of jobs they’re looking for.”

Ruebeck says the extra unemployment money allows people to be more circumspect with their job searches.

“Just the fact that they’re looking longer, for either the pay or the workplace feeling that they’re looking for. That right away means there’s going to be a little more friction in the system,” said Ruebeck.

Ruebeck says the labor shortage issue is likely to persist even though more than 8 million people lost their unemployment benefits at the beginning of September.

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