To dispel the idea that a large part of the labor force is choosing to sit at home and live the good life on unemployment:
A significant number of Americans in the age 50 and older group chose to retire since the beginning of the Pandemic; for many, the choice is having some quality time in their lives over working until their last breath; this group is no longer in the work force.
Many young families are desperate for day care for their young children. Without day care and preschools, many of these families are reordering their lives so one of the parents can stay home to take care of children.
Wages are still low although the Pandemic and the resulting labor force reduction has put labor in a much better bargaining position for better wages and benefits. If you think wages were great when the Pandemic started, keep in mind it only took about 3-4 weeks for most of the country to go broke and exhaust their resources. There are huge backlogs of potential evictions and foreclosures on hold right now. Getting behind on rents and mortgages was never a predicament Americans were wishing for or hoping to have happen.
Women in the work force were hit the hardest by the Pandemic. Again, for all the reasons I have cited above, it has been hard for women to return to the workforce. Also, for the first time, they can command better wages and benefits. This is especially true in the hospitality and food services industries. Also, many schools are still in some sort of a hybrid remote/in person learning model. Like it or not, our schools also perform a huge day care function for families. It seems like the availability of day care and preschool will be big challenges to the restoration of our workforce. I know of many young families that are trying and have figured out how to reorder their finances so one parent can stay home with their children.
Americans are not the vast lazy bunch as some would like you to believe. This is simply not true. I can think of some equally poor generalizations to make about the more affluent in this country, but that will not help anyone either.
I always said, even when some did not want to hear it, that the other end of the tunnel in this Pandemic would not be the same as the end we entered the Pandemic from. Things will not be the same. We will have to find solutions to problems and compromises that work. We are a good people and we can do this if we put our minds and hearts to the work ahead.