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How a labor shortage is giving leverage to blue-collar workers

Payoll company ADP is putting its jobs report on pause for an update.

Payoll company ADP is putting its jobs report on pause for an update. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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The U.S. labor market is experiencing the lowest unemployment in decades, with millions of jobs unfilled. For the past year, the economy has suffered from one of the worst labor shortages in history. This is good news for workers looking for a job, but tough for companies trying to hire and sustain a labor force. 

The workers most in demand aren’t in technology or engineering, but in home healthcare, hotels and restaurants. The shortage of workers for these jobs are due to more people pursuing college degrees and, later, careers in white-collar positions.

Does this moment give power to blue-collar workers? “There’s no better time for them to start saying ‘hey, we want a raise. We want paid time off, we want sick days and vacation,’” Vox’s Alexia Fernández Campbell wrote recently. She told Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams about the opportunity for today’s workers. 

Click the audio player above to hear the interview.

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