May 07, 2021 1 min, 24 secs

With vaccination rates slowing even as local economies fully reopen, the job market is reorienting itself into a new normal that assumes the virus might linger for the foreseeable future — a shift that labor experts say requires investment in a wide swath of workers if their skills are to reflect this new reality.

In taking analysts by surprise, the labor market’s stumble served up a stark reminder of the gap that persists between the bounce-back in economic activity and the recovery of the labor market.

“The recovery and expansion phase of GDP began [but] we're still a long way from expansion in the labor market,” said Joseph LaVorgna, managing director and chief economist of the Americas at Natixis.

The Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning think tank, said nearly 3 million more jobs would have been added if the current pre-pandemic pace of job creation had continued uninterrupted.

“The K-shaped recovery we have observed so far still threatens to persist as many Americans on Main Street don’t benefit much from the large-scale monetary stimulus initiatives,” and the market gains that has elicited, said Steve Rick, chief economist at CUNA Mutual Group.

Experts said the prospect of investing more in the nation’s workforce as laid out in President Joe Biden’s economic recovery plans is the country’s best shot at replacing some of those jobs and having a qualified pool of labor to fill them.

More money for education and training, experts said, could help speed the return of marginalized populations back into labor market

Getting these discouraged workers off the sidelines, he said, will take a massive re-skilling initiative to reengage this pool of workers with the new economic reality

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