In a November 30, 2022, speech on “Inflation and the Labor Market,” Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell blamed most of the 3.5 million estimated shortfall in the US labor force on premature retirements. He also blamed a large portion – between 280,000 and 680,000 – on “long Covid.” In a footnote, however, Powell acknowledged a far more somber factor: an estimated 400,000 unexpected deaths among working-age people.
It’s easy to blame these deaths on Covid-19. The virus is of course one significant cause. But it’s not nearly the only cause, especially among young and middle-age workers. We need better government data transparency to make a full assessment. Until then, we can proceed with others who track mortality for a living – life insurance companies.