New study: Covid-19 will weigh on workforce if infection rates continue

A study released Monday shows that illness caused by Covid-19 shrank the U.S. labor force by around half a million people.  It is a trend likely to go on if the virus continues to sicken workers at current rates.

The study estimates that workers with week-long Covid-19 work absences are 7 percent less likely to be in the labor force one year later compared to otherwise-similar workers who do not miss a week of work for health reasons.

The study is still not peer reviewed, but is considered conservative.  It excludes anyone who wasn’t working at the survey’s outset but who would have become employed if not for illness.  It also does not include those missing work to care for family members sickened by Covid-19, nor those who missed less than a week of work.  The number could be as high as 750,000 people.

This could have an impact on the US economy.  Economic growth depends on an expanding workforce and rising productivity. A slow-growing labor force means fewer people to build cars and wait tables, which could restrain the economy’s growth potential.

The study is broken down further in the Wall Street JournalRead the full article here.