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I don't understand the current economic situation. The savings rate is at a long-time low. Something like 30% of Americans failed to pay mortgage or rent in June, inflation is signficantly increasing the real cost of living, yet 90% of advertised jobs are going unfilled! It's like every metric of worker survivability is declining, yet they still refuse to work! What the heck? As an employer I have run many ads for workers and the resumes I get are either non-existent or they just keep getting worse. I thought the applicants I got last year were bad, but the paltry few I get now are just pathetic, and I offer very high salaries, like \$120k+ benefits for semi-skilled labor. I hear that unskilled jobs pay only $20 per hour and it is unfathomable to me how they get even a single high quality applicant with pay like that. In fact, a lot of the clerks I have been seeing in stores recently are people with obvious personal issues.

A year ago I know there were all these federal payments and unemployment compensation extensions that were supposedly allowing US workers to sit home and entertain themselves, but my understanding is that these handouts have more or less ended. And anyway how far can \$3,000 go anyway? I mean you can't survive for months and months on a couple of \$3,000 checks.

I have heard rumors that the new mentality is 'don't work, just go live in your parent's basement'. So, I guess according to this theory workers are just "slumming it" and trying to figure out how to get by on the absolute minimum, to hell with standard of living. So, that is one possible explanation.

So, from an economic theory perspective (I am not an economist) what is the explanation for this phenomenon of the vanishing American worker?

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  • $\begingroup$ All your sources are news pages; I would not rely on them for any indicators. Specifically 90% of advertised jobs are going unfilled sounds implausible. $\endgroup$
    – Giskard
    Commented Nov 20, 2022 at 17:27
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    $\begingroup$ "As an employer I have run many ads for workers and the resumes I get are either non-existent or they just keep getting worse. [...] and I offer very high salaries, like $120k+ benefits for semi-skilled labor." I don't know what your business is and where it is located (what is the local cost of living), but if I had to guess I would say that you are either very demanding w.r.t. the qualifications of your semi-skilled workers, the business is repugnant for some reason, or perhaps you are exaggerating. Hard to tell which one without more details. $\endgroup$
    – Giskard
    Commented Nov 20, 2022 at 17:30
  • $\begingroup$ @Giskard Uh, so now questions have to be fully documented with refereed papers from reputable economic journals? Maybe you could provide your list of approved journals so I don't accidentally cite a paper from a source you don't approve of. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 20, 2022 at 18:00
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    $\begingroup$ Although the question provides only anecdotal evidence , I believe recent economic data is consistent with it. I’d like to see an answer from an economist . $\endgroup$
    – dm63
    Commented Nov 20, 2022 at 20:18
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    $\begingroup$ I agree with @dm63. While I do not live in the States it is very similar in the UK and probably even more so in Austria, where I was born. If my company is advertising jobs, it is incredible hard to find applicants. Pubs close or have limited working hours because they cannot find waiters. I have very limited knowledge of labour markets but find it an interesting question. $\endgroup$
    – AKdemy
    Commented Nov 21, 2022 at 9:30

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