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Editorial

On the Worker Shortage

It had been a long time since a good friend of mine and I sat in a booth at a local diner to eat. This is a diner very well-maintained, clean, and with good food. Its Greek owners seem to always be there, working endless hours. It’s one of those diners that is so good that you hope its owners will never retire.
My friend and I started our conversation and we did not notice that some time had passed and the waiter had not come to take our order.
When he finally came, we asked him what was going on. “Can’t you see that we were left with only two waiters for the whole restaurant? ” he answered us. “The boss finds it difficult to find employees. He is forced to go into the kitchen many times himself. People no longer want to work,” he added, before going to place our order.
This, my friend and I agreed, is not only happening here; but it is interesting that it is also happening here. And it shows how much the country is changing. It is also happening in Greece, we agreed. During the summer, we had both noticed that several restaurants had not opened, or were only partly opened. When I asked a hotelier in Crete why he kept part of his hotel and a restaurant inside it closed, despite the demand that existed in July and August, he answered bluntly: “Why? I cannot find employees.”
“But how is it possible?” I asked him, “that the employees do not want to work when everything was closed last year? How do they live?” “That’s a good question,” he answered me. “But if you find me an employee, rest assured that I will hire him immediately,” he said.
The report on unemployment benefit applications in the United States was released last week. And this month the number of applications declined to 268,000. This is due to the unusually strong demand for employees but also the fact that many are retiring from the labor market as the AP reported.
The result is that many businessmen are unable to find employees, even when they offer bonuses to attract them. It seems, therefore, that this phenomenon is common in America and in Europe. And now, in anticipation of the Christmas season with growing demand, the situation is expected to get even worse.
It is clear that employees in America deserve better treatment, in terms of their earnings, health insurance, family benefits, the issue of vacations, and so on. And now with the economy coming back vigorously, maybe this is their chance. But this will not last long, because companies will learn to operate with fewer employees, but also because the economy will not continue to grow at such a pace for long. The jump in inflation is already signaling that difficult days are coming. And then this will turn the bargaining power between employees and employers in favor of employers again.

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