Fed’s Barkin says labor shortage is part of a long lasting phenomenon

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FILE PHOTO: Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond President Thomas Barkin poses during a break at a Dallas Fed conference on technology in Dallas

NEW YORK – The labor shortage making it difficult for businesses to find needed workers may persist because of longstanding trends in demographics and challenges related to the pandemic, Richmond Federal Reserve Bank President Thomas Barkin said Thursday.

“I do think this is a long lasting phenomenon, and a lot of it has been predicted for years with baby boomers retiring and all the rest of that, and immigration slowing,” Barkin said during a virtual event organized by the Virginia Bankers Association and Virginia Chamber of Commerce.

He said officials may need to accept that labor force participation is “stagnant” because of demographics and because some people are re-evaluating their lives and their work.

(Reporting by Jonnelle Marte)