15% of job vacancies are due to long COVID-19, report finds: 6 things to know

As the U.S. deals with a major labor shortage, a Jan. 11 Brookings report estimates that about 15 percent of unfilled jobs could be the result of people struggling with long COVID-19.

Six more things to know:

1. There are about 10.6 million vacant jobs in the U.S., according to a Jan. 4 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Economists have said this could be due to factors like fewer employees agreeing to work for low pay, poor conditions or a lack of childcare access, but long COVID-19 is rarely mentioned, according to the report.

2. Several studies say that between 27 and 33 percent of COVID-19 patients continue to feel symptoms months after being infected. This means that more than one in seven — or 31 million — working-age Americans could still be experiencing, or have experienced at one point, lingering COVID-19 symptoms.

3. The analysis assumes that 31 million Americans with long COVID-19 had symptoms for an average of three months, meaning 4.5 million could have been sick at any point over the last 20 months.

4. Studies by the The Lancet and Trades Union Congress found that 23 percent and 28 percent, respectively, of long COVID-19 patients were not working at the time of the study. This means there may have been about 1.1 million Americans out of work because of long COVID-19 at any point, according to Brookings.

5. The Lancet study also found that 46 percent of long COVID-19 patients, or another 2.1 million workers, have worked fewer hours.

6. Because these numbers are estimates, the study said more research and data is needed to understand the effects of long COVID-19 on labor shortages, and the Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics should incorporate long COVID-19 questions into their reports.

Read the full report here.


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