Kickstart: The day care shortage and the worker shortage

When employers had problems filling jobs in 2020, many of them blamed the supplemental unemployment funds provided to workers who lost their jobs during the pandemic.It was an easy target.But now that those payments have stopped — and haven’t been available for months in some states — there are still thousands of open jobs.Loretta Mester, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, says that while the labor story is complex, , Scott Suttell from our sister paper Crain’s Cleveland Business writes.In a Sept. 24 virtual presentation for the Ohio Bankers League, Mester said that labor supply has ben held back “by a perfect storm of factors, many of which reflect the unusual nature of the pandemic.””The high cost and scarcity of day care is likely a factor deterring the return of some parents,” she said. “For those with older children, there is uncertainty about whether schools will be able to stay reliably open in the midst of the delta wave. In addition, some workers are likely reluctant to return to the workforce until virus cases turn back down.” The biggest story in the auto industry in 2021, once we reach the end of this year, will probably be the microchip shortage that curtailed what had been promising to be a solid recovery after the early pandemic shutdowns.Jamie Butters at our sister paper Automotive News notes that anyone looking for a light at the end of the chip-shortage tunnel may be waiting for some time.Butters writes that he was getting ready to moderate a panel discussion at Motor Bella, the outdoor auto event in suburban Detroit that industry leaders hoped would be a suitable substitute for the typical auto show. (Instead, heavy rains canceled at least one day of events, which he said could be a metaphor for the auto industry.) One of the panelists was Jeff Schuster, president of the Americas operations and global vehicle forecasting for LMC Automotive.”[Schuster] initially projected that the industry would bounce back to full production this year — or even a little beyond with overtime to make up for last year’s COVID-19-slumped results. But instead of U.S. light-vehicle sales jumping to 17.5 million, he now ,” Butters writes. “Week after week, he said, LMC has been adjusting its expectations for the year downward and more downward.” Speaking of the auto industry, there have been a couple of interesting projects happening to help recover some of the materials used in cars at the end of their lives.Sarah Kominek writes about a project by Denmark’s Shark Solutions (great name, by the way) and Avient Corp. to in auto windshields into an injection moldable thermoplastic elastomer.”Thousands of tons of PVB,” found in the inner layer of the windshields, are still potentially bound for landfills, Shark Solutions noted.News on that project comes shortly after Sarah spoke with Eastman Chemical Co. about its work with a team  to recover — all the “fluff” left over after all the metals have been recycled from destroyed cars. Eastman’s program uses chemical recycling to recover polymers otherwise headed to landfills.   Do you have an opinion about this story? Do you have some thoughts you’d like to share with our readers? Plastics News would love to hear from you. Email your letter to Editor at Please enter a valid email address.Please enter your email address.Please verify captcha.Please select at least one newsletter to subscribe. Staying current is easy with Plastics News delivered straight to your inbox, free of charge. Subscribe to Plastics News Plastics News covers the business of the global plastics industry. We report news, gather data and deliver timely information that provides our readers with a competitive advantage.Customer Service:

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