March 5, 2024

The pandemic has resulted in Americans wanting higher wages and higher benefits in the workplace, National Urban League CEO Marc Morial told CNBC on Friday.

“I feel that there is a lack of well-paid jobs because this labor shortage is at the bottom of the economic ladder,” said Morial on “Power Lunch”.

Meanwhile, the former New Orleans mayor said the situation had left employers with two options to deal with. “I think smart employers will either see ‘I’m paying more’ or ‘I can’t meet customer demand’.”

70 percent of the jobs lost during Covids have returned, Morial said, assuring that the job market is now recovering faster than it was after the Great Recession.

The Labor Department reported Friday that the number of employees rose by 850,000 in June, topping a Dow Jones estimate of 706,000. Wages rose 0.3% last month and 3.6% year-on-year, which was in line with expectations.

“We have to follow the evidence and show the evidence that in states that have cut increased unemployment benefits, for example, job hunting is not faster,” said Morial.

Other executives believe that there is more to the labor shortage than just wages.

Denny CEO John Miller told CNBC Thursday that the restaurant chain is struggling to fill vacancies as people are reluctant to get back to work – no hiring barriers.

Suzanne Clark, the chief executive of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said Thursday on CNBC that a skilled labor shortage, pandemic-induced state unemployment benefits, and lack of access to childcare and restrictions on work visas for workers have all contributed to a nationwide job shortage.

Morial believes workers, especially women with childcare responsibilities, have concerns about the risk of contracting Covid-19. Concerns are especially heightened in states with low vaccination rates, where some may be looking for a better paying job or the opportunity to work from home.

He noted that the fall season will be a notable transition period as children return to school and more parents return to work.

Those looking for alternatives to low-wage jobs without regular pay increases also show interest in self-employment and small business owners, the Morial said.

“When I look around the nation, one thing is so clear that people are overwhelmed with higher rents because there is a housing shortage that is strained because of childcare and the cost of it, and all of these things are recreating a new reality the pandemic. ” said Morial.

The post-pandemic reality “requires employers and others and policy makers to understand that there is ‘BC’ before Covid and there is ‘AC’ after Covid and that is AC,” he said.