While quite different, both are under severe pressure as demand for services far exceeds supply. Both are finding it very difficult to attract enough employees to maintain historical levels of service, to say nothing of the difficulties associated with expanding to meet increasing demand.
The lack of reliable, affordable, quality day care is a serious problem for families. It is also generally believed to be an important reason why, with millions of available jobs, the workforce participation rate remains at relatively low levels.
Staffing is also a material factor for healthcare. For example, Britain’s National Health Service (NHS), once held up as a model system, is struggling to provide timely, quality care. According to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, NHS staffing vacancies, as of last September, were 133,000 compared to 83,000 before the pandemic. With the NHS already unable to provide timely, quality care, how will they manage to address the health problems associated with an aging population?
Investors should be aware that it is important to find solutions to the nation’s staffing problems, that go well beyond daycare and healthcare. As potential solutions emerge, investment opportunities may be affected.
All comments and suggestions are welcome.
Walter J. Kirchberger, CFA