America’s Missing Workers Show Job Market in Long-Term Turmoil

Oct. 14, 2021, 9:00 AM

It’s a riddle dogging employers, the White House, and Wall Street economists alike: Where are the 5 million workers still missing from the U.S. job market—and when will they return?

Nationwide there’s more than one job opening for every American who wants to work. Yet September had the smallest monthly gain in payrolls this year, at 194,000, defying predictions by some politicians and economists that the expiration of emergency federal unemployment benefits would prod more people to find work. The contradictory data speak of a labor market that has been profoundly disrupted by the Covid-19 crisis—and may remain so for ...

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