On Thursday, the CEO of American appliance company Whirlpool told CNBC’s Jim Cramer that he’s “beginning to get scared” that the United States’ labor market will confront fundamental issues in the years ahead, even after certain pandemic-related hurdles have been addressed.
Cramer questioned Whirlpool CEO Marc Bitzer on “Mad Money” whether he was concerned about the country’s dropping birthrate, which is expected to fall for the sixth consecutive year in 2020, and its long-term implications for the world’s largest economy.
“Demographics drive consumption, but frankly also employment., We’re producing 80% of what we sell in the U.S. in the U.S., so have more than 20,000 employees in the U.S.,” Bitzer said. “I’m starting to get worried that the labor shortage starts becoming structural, so yes, demographics are a little bit of a worry down the road.”
There are currently millions of job openings in the United States. Still, many companies have reported that filling them has proven to be more difficult than expected, even as a broader swath of economic activity recovers from Covid-related slowdowns.
According to analysts, the current labor market situation is caused by a number of issues, including workers’ health worries, the need to juggle care obligations, and poor compensation offers at unfilled positions. Early retirements and savings accumulated during the epidemic may reduce the number of persons returning to employment. Even while the Covid pandemics immediately impacted the economy, analysts say it will take time for these entrance hurdles to disappear.
Bitzer’s remarks touch on a more basic, overarching difficulty that the American economy may confront in the coming years, and he’s not the only executive to bring it up with Cramer.
Cramer made a similar point Thursday in an interview with Whirlpool’s Bitzer, who appeared on “Mad Money” following the Michigan-based company’s mixed third-quarter results. Earnings per share of $6.68 surpassed Wall Street’s prediction of $6.12, but revenue of $5.49 billion fell short of the predicted $5.74 billion.
Whirlpool shares plummeted more than 2% in the after-hours trade as investors reacted to the quarterly results. The stock concluded Thursday’s regular session down 0.64 percent at $207.90 per share.