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Labor crunch: Sectors with in-person work are ‘hardest-hit by resignations,’ Charter CEO explains

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Charter Co-Founder Kevin Delaney joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss how companies like Starbucks and Amazon are dealing with the labor shortage by increasing wages and increasing flexibility.

Video Transcript

[MUSIC PLAYING]

JARED BLIKRE: Welcome back. Call it the Great Resignation or the year of the jolts. 4.4 million workers quit their jobs in September. And given the labor shortages, higher wages, and perks, such as bonuses and increased flexibilities, many workers are simply saying adios. Here to discuss is Kevin Delaney, Charter co-founder and CEO. And Kevin, these are some pretty big numbers here. I'm just wondering how they stack up historically.

KEVIN DELANEY: Yeah, so the 4.4 million people who voluntarily quit their jobs in September is the highest monthly number on record since the US Labor Department started tracking about two decades ago. This is the-- the trend has been accelerating, you know, as we've been following the number of voluntary quits, people voluntarily quitting their jobs, has been gaining momentum. And the numbers have been growing. But this is the largest number that we've ever seen.

AKIKO FUJITA: And is there any way, Kevin, to break this down by sector where we're seeing the largest resignations? I mean, you know, I feel like we've been talking about this for several months. Especially in the services sector, we've seen a big pullback. But what have you found in the most recent days?

KEVIN DELANEY: So that's exactly right. Hospitality and leisure is the sector that saw, I think, about 1 million of the 4.4 million voluntary quits in September. And overall, the sectors where people actually need to do work in person, so that includes retail and manufacturing as well, those are the sectors that have been actually hardest hit by resignations.

So those, you know, as you know, are some of the sectors that have the hardest time filling jobs as well. They have the most open jobs. And it's why we're seeing wage increases and more flexible schedules at retailers and companies like Starbucks and Amazon, that just to get people in particularly ahead of the holiday season, they're having to raise wages and give people increased flexibility.

JARED BLIKRE: Yeah, and also businesses are getting a little bit creative here, turning to things like robots to be able to help in their assembly line to do basic security tasks now. And I'm just wondering, what kind of other examples are you seeing businesses turn to amid this environment of increased labor costs and the difficulty in finding workers?

KEVIN DELANEY: So it's hard to know how it's all going to net out a few years from now. But what we are seeing is that the leaders of organizations are very interested in ways that they can use automation to reduce the need for labor at a moment when they're having trouble filling jobs. So you mentioned one of the examples that, you know, that's popping up. And that's basically automating security. So they're roving robot-like machines that actually can do some of the security tasks that some-- in a human, walking around and looking-- you know, checking for open doors or intrusion can do.

In some areas, it's actually even more basic. So you have pizza chains. And they're actually automating the creation of dough balls that are used to make pizzas, rather than having humans make the dough balls. They're actually having machines do it. So there are lots of examples where work-- where companies are actually feeling real pressure and incentives to invest in automation because they just can't hire enough people at the right wages and in the right conditions to do those jobs.

JARED BLIKRE: Yeah, it still amazes me that you can get a pizza for 7 bucks in some places. We're going to have to leave it there. Kevin Delaney, Charter co-founder and CEO.