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Covid Fear Linked to Shrinking US Workforce, $250 Billion Cost

Oct. 25, 2022, 6:43 PM

Persistent worries about catching Covid kept about 3 million Americans out of the workforce, reducing the nation’s economic output by $250 billion in the first half of 2022, according to new research on a phenomenon dubbed “Long Social Distancing.”

Close to 60% of respondents to a monthly survey of tens of thousands of adults said they wouldn’t completely return to pre-Covid activities like riding crowded subways and elevators, and were staying out of the labor force as a result. Those not working or looking for a job in part due to infection fears totaled about 2% of the labor force, which translated ...