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Childcare is one reason some have put off returning to the workforce. (Pexels)

Demand for work has reached historic levels with over a million positions open in Texas, yet most who are unemployed aren't searching for a job.

A new study by locally-based jobs site Indeed shows that only 10% of people between 18 and 64 said they are "urgently" searching for work. With more jobs open than unemployed Texans at the end of May, the study explains what is stopping people from returning to the grind.

While some assume unemployment payments have kept most from urgently looking for a job, the study shows COVID fears, spouse's employment, financial cushion and care responsibilities are the biggest reasons for the lack of urgency in getting a job.

COVID-19 hesitation is the most cited reason for hesitation to return to work, according to Indeed. Fears due to vaccination rates accounted for between 20-25% depending on skillset, as workers without college degrees are more likely to work in positions that require extensive face-to-face interaction.

College-educated workers are citing more comfort in their situation with nearly 25% reporting their spouse is employed, though around 34% said increased vaccination rates would be a catalyst in the job search.

Financial cushions and care responsibilities are keeping both groups home as the second and third most cited reasons to put job searching on the backburner. Despite the abundance of open jobs, around 30% of participants said they are waiting for more positions to open up.

The end of unemployment payments in Texas on June 26 is expected to put pressure on people even in the non-urgent category. Around 12% of participants without a college degree said they are putting off an urgent search while benefits last and more than 20% said it will be the reason they return to work.

While the labor shortage is causing pressure for many employers, even people in the urgent search category aren't trying to start a new job immediately. Out of all job seekers, 31% said they would prefer to have time off this summer before starting and more than 15% of college-educated searchers said they will begin to search urgently after time off this summer.

Survey participants listed some of the biggest factors that will get them back to the workforce:

  • increasing vaccination rates
  • schools reopening
  • dwindling savings

Indeed's conclusion: Urgency is likely to pick up in the fall. As vaccination rates climb, enhanced unemployment dies down and schools reopen, Texans may see an employment revival.


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