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According to a recent article in Fortune, “Overall, nonfarm employment in the U.S. is down by 4.2 million, or 2.8%, from its pre-pandemic level. This is according to the latest October figures from the BLS. Others estimate it could be higher. A report from the Peterson Institute for International Economics estimates the U.S. economy is still short 6.2 million jobs. Half of the 11,000 employees recently surveyed by CNBC in October reported their companies are understaffed.

It’s no secret that the U.S. is experiencing a labor shortage. You can see it from your local coffee shop to the docks that unload goods and the trucks who deliver them. Recently released mandates regarding COVID-19 vaccines may complicate the situation. The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is set to start requiring employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workers are fully vaccinated or tested for COVID-19 on at least a weekly basis.

The OSHA rule will also require that these employers provide paid time for employees to get vaccinated, and require all unvaccinated workers wear a face mask in the workplace. 

Many are concerned that regulations like this could make a bad employment situation even worse. Will some employees just quit?  No one knows for sure. But if that happens, it would worsen a nationwide staffing shortage.


Labor scarcity is real so what to do about it? At Barnhart we suggest accelerating planning in order to lock down vendors and equipment providers earlier in the process. Allowing contractors time to staff up for projects will reduce the chance that schedules will be delayed due to labor shortages. It will also help mitigate risk by ensuring highly trained personnel are on the job. 

No one can magically predict what will happen with the labor force in 2022. But by looking ahead and making sure your upcoming project needs are covered, you can help weather the potential storm.