Massachusetts facing challenges due to labor shortages

Coronavirus Local Impact

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The number of people quitting their jobs is breaking records across the country. 22News looked at some of the biggest challenges Massachusetts faces when it comes to labor shortages.

New numbers show Americans quit their jobs at a record pace this summer. It’s something that hasn’t been seen in more than two decades. A record 4.3 million workers walked off the job in August. That’s equivalent to nearly 3% of the workforce nationwide. The Labor Department said it’s the highest on record dating back to December 2000.

State Senator Adam Gomez highlights job creation issues, especially after a major gun manufacturer announced last month it will take hundreds of jobs away from the region. “Here in western Massachusetts with the news of losing a fortune 500 company like Smith & Wesson it has taken a lot of the air out of the room. In western Massachusetts we want to encourage other companies to come here and make sure they are paying livable wages,” said Senator Gomez.

The jump in people quitting strongly suggests that fear of the delta variant is partly responsible for the shortfall in workers. COVID-19 cases have recently been on the decline nationally, but some health care professionals worry about another rise during the colder months.

Berkshire County State Senator Adam Hinds was in Springfield Wednesday announcing his run for Lieutenant Governor. “It feels like we are not even getting our fundamentals right. The obstacles for work, childcare that is unaffordable and inaccessible or transportation that is not giving folks what we need,” said State Senator Hinds.

The nationwide unemployment rate is close to the state’s overall rate at nearly 5 percent.

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