The Great Reshuffle is reshaping the US labor market. Unemployment is historically low, but labor force participation is still lower than the pre-pandemic rate. Labor shortages have led to wage growth, especially strong among low-wage workers and in sectors like Leisure and Hospitality.
Quit rates jumped in the middle of 2021 and remain high at the time of this writing—about 50 million quits a year, almost 10 million more than pre-pandemic averages. Many workers are new to their jobs. Some of these are moving from one similar job to another, but others are changing industries or occupations. At the same time, there are a large number of new remote workers. Many people left the office at COVID’s onset; there has been a trickle back, representing a massive change in the amount of remote work compared to before the pandemic.
How do such large changes in the labor market impact workers compensation injury frequency? The magnitude of these impacts relies on the interaction of three factors:
- How much more or less likely are short-tenured or remote workers to be injured than other workers?
- How much has the share of such workers changed?
- How has the sector mix of the workforce changed during the pandemic?
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