Labor shortages in Indiana:
School bus drivers
Nurses, doctors and other medical professionals
The likely causes:
A lack of access [to childcare], whether that’s not finding any open seats or not being able to afford them, has kept some parents at home — preventing them from working.
… people have simply decided to accept a lower standard of living. Perhaps during COVID-19, they lost their job and spent more time at home with their children and families. They realized they could live on less, and are now choosing a lower standard of living with a higher quality of life…
Hicks focused more on wages driving workforce availability and said Indiana’s average weekly wages for all employees is substantially lower than the national average by about a quarter. And that isn’t made up in the cost-of-living differential.
He said in the private sector businesses have had to increase wages to meet or exceed inflation. This is causing a recent national rebound, as evidenced by a decline in help wanted ads.
But Indiana’s wages have remained low: “Most businesses are not psychologically prepared for the wages they need to pay,” Hicks said.
Similarly, in the public sector, wages are the primary reason for a shortage. He said teachers are making less than they were in 2000 in inflation-adjusted terms. This is despite lawmakers putting more and more money into the system.
“Plenty of people want to teach but it pays so poorly it’s one of the least viable occupations today,” Hicks said.