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Is it “The Great Resignation” or are some of us just too lazy to work?

By: Keith Kappes
Carter County Times

Could it be true today what my grandmother told me many years ago that some folks are too lazy to work in a pie factory?

If not, how do we explain the dichotomy created by the U. S. Department of Labor saying there are nearly 10 million persons unemployed today, but more than 11 million jobs are available.

Since “dichotomy” means divided into two mutually opposed or contradictory groups, we are seeing a growing number of economists, labor statisticians, sociologists, media commentators, politicians, and other so-called experts willing to blame it all on “The Great Resignation”. 

“The Great Resignation” is the term coined by someone to describe the supposedly spontaneous decisions by hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of Americans in 2021 to walk away from well-paying jobs and careers in search of more happiness and less personal stress. 

Some of that happened when it came time to give up working at home and go back to an office or cubicle or wherever we worked before the pandemic changed our lives and our economy. Some of it was the result of families realizing they could find more time for each other by reducing living expenses.

Employers say the shortage of workers at all pay levels in different types of employment is slowing the economic recovery. Locally, some general labor positions are starting at or near $20 per hour…with many still unfilled. Truckers with commercial driver’s licenses are being recruited with $15,000 sign-on bonuses.

But the most depressing news of all came in a report last week from the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce that said more than 1.5 million Kentucky adults in the workforce are neither employed nor looking for work.

Kentucky is ranked third lowest in the country for workforce participation, ahead of only Mississippi and West Virginia. To no one’s surprise, the counties of Southeastern and Eastern Kentucky had the lowest rates with one nearby county at only 27 percent.

If all else continues to fail, perhaps we could open a pie factory.

Keith Kappes can be reached at keithkappes@gmail.com

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