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한국관련자료
Does Worker Scarcity Spur Investment, Automation and Productivity? Evidence from Earnings Calls
FRB of St. Louis
2024.06.21
Following the COVID-19 recession, the U.S. experienced a historically tight labor market. For example, the number of job vacancies per unemployed worker was about 2 in early 2022. This ratio has since fallen somewhat, to 1.3 in April 2024. When the supply of available workers is limited, either due to low unemployment rates or shortages of specific skills, the cost of labor goes up as employers raise wages to attract and retain workers.
The FRED chart below shows that this was the case after the COVID-19 recession, as increases in the employment cost index more than doubled from 2.7% in the third quarter of 2020 to 5.6% in the second quarter of 2022.1 In this environment, do firms substitute away from the more expensive input, labor, toward the cheaper one, capital? For instance, a grocery store might substitute cashiers with self-checkout kiosks, or a logistics company might incorporate self-driving trucks to move goods. Can automation be a solution―albeit a partial one―to labor shortages and therefore help boost supply and reduce inflation?