Deep Dive (Oct. 22): Businesses Say Vaccine Mandate Hurting Employment: Fed Report

The State Department told congressional staff on Thursday that nearly 200 Americans are still seeking to leave Afghanistan. The department said it’s in touch with 363 U.S. citizens in the nation, and 176 of them want to leave. This comes as Southwest Airlines says its recent cancellations cost the airline $75 million. It pointed to problems earlier this month that led to the cancellations of more than 2,000 flights. Now, the company will cut back on flights in December to avoid a similar shortfall due to “more conservative staffing assumptions.”

The U.S. Federal Reserve on Thursday banned top officials from buying individual company stocks. This comes six weeks after reports of active stock trading by senior policymakers triggered an ethics uproar. The new rules will limit the types of financial securities the Fed’s top officials can own. It includes an outright ban on directly buying shares of publicly traded companies or holding individual bonds. Buying shares in mutual funds or exchange-traded funds is still permitted.

Businesses are reporting that vaccine mandates contribute to nationwide labor shortages, according to the Federal Reserve. They say some businesses are also concerned about implementing mandates due to the potential loss of workers. The report said that while employment has increased at a moderate rate in recent weeks, the U.S. economy’s been “dampened by a low supply of workers,” partially due to vaccine mandates. In its summary of overall national economic activity, the Fed said: “Firms reported high turnover, as workers left for other jobs or retired. Child-care issues and vaccine mandates were widely cited as contributing to the problem, along with COVID-related absences.”

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