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As Arizona and America celebrate Labor Day on Monday, the country continues to emerge from a devastating blow to the economy from COVID-19. Over a long period, especially last year, many people were unable to work or had to do so at home. The federal government provided much assistance, but in the aftermath, the workforce has been disrupted, with some people more accustomed to working remotely or not working at all.

A general decrease in unemployment claims has been signaling a continual improvement, although some industries, especially those related to travel, still feel bad effects. This comes as the delta variant has caused cases to rise, although it also has encouraged vaccinations, and now there is some improvement.

Supply chain problems and inflation have troubled the economy, and recently growth has slowed somewhat. Some companies are focused on maintaining rather than expanding. Yet many employers continue to have trouble finding workers, and millions of jobs are unfilled. Part of the equation is disincentives for going back to work that still exist.

Meanwhile, Pinal County has some new employers in the electric vehicle industry, Lucid Motors and Nikola Corporation. They have been hiring, and Lucid is in a big push to do more of that. Both companies obviously would like to hire from the area, but they will reach out as far as necessary to fill positions. Meanwhile, however, houses are going up in Pinal, meaning the potential is there for new employees to move in.

America’s great labor force deserves celebration. And with that comes recognition that there is a strong ongoing need to prepare the future labor force with education, stimulated creativity and good work habits. That and a willingness to apply themselves and learn new skills. That has helped make America the great economic power that it is, and the future will require more of the same.

— Donovan Kramer Jr.

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