Federal Reserve report cites vaccine mandates as roadblock to full employment

President Joe Biden and other Democratic leaders across the country have touted COVID-19 vaccine mandates as an important step toward a return to normalcy.

In reality, a new Federal Reserve report indicates that such mandates are actually making it harder for businesses to find and keep employees.

“Concerned about losing employees”

According to the Washington Examiner, the report signaled modest to moderate growth throughout the latest reporting period, though worker retention was a significant issue across the board.

“Firms reported high turnover, as workers left for other jobs or retired,” the Fed explained in its summary of overall national economic activity. “Child-care issues and vaccine mandates were widely cited as contributing to the problem, along with COVID-related absences.”

Regional Federal Reserve banks varied in their assessment of the impact caused by vaccines, with Philadelphia’s bank reporting that mandates already in place led to a very small loss of employees. In Atlanta and elsewhere, however, banks indicated that they expect future mandates to result in a loss of as much as 8% of employees even as many employers are already finding it difficult to find new workers for open positions.

“Most employers shared that they would like to implement COVID-19 vaccine mandates but were concerned about losing employees,” the Atlanta Fed reported. “Worries about employee mental health, burnout, safety, and vaccine mandates impacting company culture were mentioned.”

Biden announced a new mandate last month that would impact private businesses with more than 100 employees, but no rule has yet been written to implement that requirement.

Underlying economic issues

A prior Department of Labor report showed that 3% of U.S. workers quit their jobs in August, even before the latest mandate was announced.

That number translates to a record 4.3 million workers at a time when there were 10.4 million job openings nationwide. Additional losses could exacerbate current economic woes.

Supply chain interruptions caused in part by worker shortages have already caused prices for many imported goods to skyrocket as ships sit out at sea for extended periods of time.

While automation at foreign ports has allowed goods to be shipped faster, U.S. workers appear increasingly unable to handle the volume.

Republicans have adamantly urged Biden to suspend COVID-19 mandates and address the underlying supply chain issues, but he seems to lack the desire to do anything about the worsening situation.

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