Good Question: Where have all the workers gone?

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC)— Check out this message News10NBC’s Brennan Somers got from a viewer just this week: Where have all the workers gone?

A lot of people pointed to the extra federal unemployment benefits and maybe that would turn things around once they ran out in September. That wave of people trying to get back to work didn’t surge at the rate some expected.

A CNBC survey of industry experts shows there’s a lot to factor in here.

Think about older adults retiring early. They’re at higher risk for COVID complications. They may also be working with parents to take care of grandkids instead and you can’t bank on many in this older group coming back.

People have also saved more during the pandemic. That’s through a combination of not doing as much as they did pre-COVID, stimulus checks, and temporary relief for renters and student loans.

Others have left their jobs due to COVID-related mandates or workplace requirements.

JPMorgan Chase reports median cash balances were more than 50 percent higher at the end of July 2021 compared to summer 2019. We also have the uncertainty of a world still dealing with a global outbreak

Dave Seeley the head of RochesterWorks! has talked to us about this before.

"I get frustrated when people just come up to me and say I don’t understand, there’s all these jobs out here and there’s all these people living in poverty, why don’t they just take the jobs?” Seeley told News10NBC. “Well, there’s a host of factors because of that. It could be conditions in their life, it could be transportation issues, it could be child care issues.”

You can also look at what places are paying people. Over the last year wages went up more than $1 dollar an hour in the private sector. Even with that, people have been home reevaluating their own situation to weigh pros and cons of what they want to do.

We’ll get a better sense of where things stand later this week when the October jobs report drops Friday morning.


Watch previous Good Question segments here. If you have a question you’d like answered, email