Another 87,000 workers across the state have dropped out of the labor force during the pandemic. These are Iowans who are no longer looking for work and, in theory, most of them do not qualify for unemployment insurance. Orazem said many of these workers may have retired early; are staying home because they fear contracting COVID-19; or are looking after their children after declining to send them to school this year.
Despite all of this, he was unsure why Deere can't hire more employees right now.
"They pay well and have good benefits," he said. "...Those were the types of jobs you wanted when you graduated high school, to go work for John Deere. I am puzzled."
This story also covered by
Wisconsin State Farmer, May 12