Paul Krugman in an opinion piece for The New York Times:
My guess, however — and it’s just a guess, although some of the go-to experts here seem to have similar views — is that, as I suggested at the beginning of this article, the pandemic disruption of work was a learning experience. Many of those lucky enough to have been able to work from home realized how much they had hated commuting; some of those who had been working in leisure and hospitality realized, during their months of forced unemployment, how much they had hated their old jobs.
And workers are, it seems, willing to pay a price to avoid going back to the way things were. This may, by the way, be especially true for older workers, some of whom seem to have dropped out of the labor force.
To the extent that this is the story behind recent “labor shortages,” what we’re looking at is a good thing, not a problem. Perversely, the pandemic may have given many Americans a chance to figure out what really matters to them — and the money they were being paid for unpleasant jobs, some now realize, just wasn’t enough.