As the economy begins to recover with what appears to be the worst of the pandemic behind the US employers are finding many of their older workers aren’t heading back into the office and instead retiring early in unusually large numbers.

LSU economist Dr. Loren Scott said that’s further exacerbating the nation’s labor shortage leading to companies having trouble finding qualified workers and deliveries running behind schedule due to a lack of labor in the supply chain.

“It is kind of compounding the situation and it is odd that it is coming from this particular group but it is one of the groups that is really adding to the problem,” said Scott.

Scott said this partially retirement-based labor shortage has the potential to have long-term ramifications should it persist. Scott said it will likely result in one of two things, companies trying to lure retirees back with increasingly generous compensation, or an acceleration of the already ongoing process of automation in many industries.

“A lot more often you are going to be walking into a McDonalds and walking to a kiosk and ordering your food rather than talking to an individual,” said Scott who added that while this is bad news for businesses the winners will be those staying in the workforce. “If you are able and willing to work and can get a job you are going to end up getting higher wages than you normally would have this not have happened.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics June US Jobs Report showed average hourly earnings were up .3% over the month and 3.6% over the year.

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