America is facing an unprecedented labor shortage. Here are 3 things we can do to fix it.

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America in the middle The worst labor shortage in recent memory.

Many have heard stories of employers offering higher bonuses and salaries in a desperate attempt to fill vacancies. Many experienced delays in restaurants or stores that were understaffed. Others’ flights have been delayed or canceled because there aren’t enough baggage handlers, TSA agents, pilots or flight attendants.

In fact, the scale of this labor shortage is unprecedented. Data from the St. Louis Federal Reserve indicates that 2022 saw the largest number of jobs recorded. Furthermore, the labor force participation rate is still a full percentage point below pre-COVID-19 levels, which translates to 3 million fewer workers in the economy today.

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This is a problem that deserves our attention. Labor shortages can undermine GDP growth, fuel inflation, and stifle productive innovation and investment. Moreover, a strong and healthy workforce is needed to maintain the Medicare and Social Security benefits that millions of seniors depend on.

Passengers arrive at the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTX) in Romulus, Michigan, US, on Saturday, June 12, 2021. The acting chief of the Transportation Security Administration has reportedly warned that 131 of the largest airports in the US will likely face staff shortages. This month, as air travel began to rise amid the country's Covid-19 recovery.  Photographer: Matthew Hatcher/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Passengers arrive at the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTX) in Romulus, Michigan, US, on Saturday, June 12, 2021. The acting chief of the Transportation Security Administration has reportedly warned that 131 of the largest airports in the US will likely face staff shortages. This month, as air travel began to rise amid the country’s Covid-19 recovery. Photographer: Matthew Hatcher/Bloomberg via Getty Images

While there is no magic bullet, there are a few steps that Congress, local governments, and this administration can take right now to help boost the workforce and give our economy a much-needed boost.

First, our country needs to address the growing mismatch between the skills needed to fill vacancies and the skills that job seekers possess. The skill gap, as this phenomenon has been called, is Especially prevalent for technical jobs It requires more than a high school diploma but less than a four-year bachelor’s degree – think software programmers, hospital technicians, HVAC specialists, etc.

These are generally well-paying jobs that offer solid benefits, and the skills they require can be obtained through workforce training programs at local community colleges and technical schools. We must make these programs accessible to Americans who are interested in benefiting from them.

Suggestion of one of the senators Rob Portman, R-OH, and Tim Kaine, D-VA, will do just that. Their bill, the Jobs Act, would allow Pell Grants to be used in technical schools and community colleges, enabling countless Americans to receive the training they need to fill needed jobs that help support our economy. Congress must pass this legislation without delay.

Second, Medicaid work requirements must be considered for healthy adults without dependents. Medicaid was created nearly 60 years ago to provide free or substantially subsidized health care coverage for women, poor children, disabled individuals, and seniors in nursing homes who cannot afford long-term care. In 2010, Obamacare expanded Medicaid eligibility to include healthy adults of working age who live at or slightly above the poverty line. Since then, the number of Medicaid enrollees has swelled to more than 75 million.

With more than 10 million job openings, Medicaid recipients who are not elderly and non-disabled can be required to work, look for work or pursue educational opportunities in exchange for taxpayer-funded benefits. This would help bring more than a million Americans into the workforce and on a path toward self-sufficiency.

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Third, state and local legislatures should take a closer look at reducing or eliminating onerous and unnecessary professional licensing requirements that do not really increase public safety. Roughly one-third of American workers are required to have a government license to legally provide goods or services for a fee, and individual states control these regulations. While licensing makes sense for doctors and pilots, there seems to be no reason to force florists, interior designers, beauticians, and tour guides to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars and complete extensive educational programs as a prerequisite for employment. In fact, many of these professional licensing requirements in effect today have become barriers to entry that limit competition.

America is home to the world’s most productive, innovative and resourceful workforce. They are the backbone of our economy and the source of our national prosperity. Their work ethic, determination and creativity will continue to drive us into the future.

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However, we must not lose sight of the fact that these men and women have also been severely affected by the shortage of national labour. Too many Americans are forced to work harder and longer to make up for the labor shortage.

It is time for leaders to address this national issue head-on by pursuing policies at every level of government to enhance opportunities, remove red tape, and strengthen the American workforce.

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