Businesses are reporting that vaccine mandates are contributing to labor supply problems, the Federal Reserve said.
The central bank said that recent economic growth has been modest to moderate in its so-called beige book report, a collection of business anecdotes from each of the regional Federal Reserve banks and a summation of the current nationwide economic environment.
The report, which was released on Wednesday, also acknowledged nationwide labor shortages and cited vaccine mandates as one of the factors contributing to the difficulty that employers are having finding workers.
“Firms reported high turnover, as workers left for other jobs or retired. Child-care issues and vaccine mandates were widely cited as contributing to the problem, along with COVID-related absences,” the Fed said in its summary of overall national economic activity.
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Individual Fed banks also reported what they are hearing about the mandates. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said many firms reported that the edicts resulted in few lost employees, but the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta said employers were concerned that implementing a vaccine requirement could result in lost workers.
“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.”
About 3% of the U.S. labor force, or 4.3 million workers, quit their jobs in August, a record high that goes in tandem with a little over 10.4 million job openings that same month.
Many companies have begun implementing their own vaccine mandates. Some businesses are also preemptively enforcing vaccine mandates ahead of the implementation of President Joe Biden's executive order compelling mandates for companies with more than 100 employees.
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In addition to businesses with more than 100 workers, Biden is also compelling all companies with federal contracts to mandate vaccines and is requiring all federal workers to do the same.