As millions look for work, why can’t businesses find employees?

As California emerges from the business restrictions put in place during the pandemic, employers have said they are struggling to fill jobs, even as millions of people in the U.S. report they are looking for work.

In California, workers in California filed 59,200 initial claims for unemployment during the week that ended on July 3, up from an average of 44,800 a week during the two months before the pandemic, according to the U.S. Labor Department.

Recent figures showed the rate of unemployment was 5.9% across the U.S. in June.

So what’s going on? Enrique Lopezlira, who recently joined the UC Berkeley Labor Center as the director of the low-wage work program, sat down with Bay Area News Group to discuss why the so-called “labor shortage” isn’t quite a shortage, and what businesses and government could do to change it.

Lopezlira is a labor economist who has long focused on how economic and labor policy impacts racial and gender equity. He…

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