There may be an end in sight for the Great Resignation, according to one economist’s estimate.
As COVID cases begin to decline and Americans deplete their pandemic savings, the number of people returning to the job market will grow in the coming months, according to a report by Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi. He expects October job growth to double to 400,000 from September and potentially expand to 750,000 to 1 million jobs in November and December.
“The worst of the labor shortage has passed, and employers should be able to start filling jobs more readily,” Zandi told Fortune.
More than 20 million people left their jobs this past spring and summer. As of August, there were still 10.4 million job openings, according to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to the Census Bureau’s Pulse Survey of unemployed Americans in September, many said their primary reason for not working was because either they were sick with COVID-19, caring for a sick family member, or that they are worried about contracting COVID.
“As long as the pandemic sticks to script and continues to wind down, workers sickened or scared off by the pandemic or who have lost their jobs because of the pandemic will take those positions,” wrote Zandi.
Another big driver for the return to work: cash. Millions of low- and middle-income Americans now have an average of $10,000 in additional savings due to various stimulus checks, expanded unemployment insurance, rental assistance, mortgage forbearance, and a student loan payment freeze. But as that assistance ends, unemployed Americans will likely burn through that extra savings by the year’s end, according to Moody’s projections.
Even so, employers will continue to face some labor shortages, he said, thanks to several factors, including reduced immigration and the accelerated retirement of many baby boomers.
“It’s going to be a lot easier to fill jobs in the coming months,” said Zandi, “but this problem isn’t going away.”
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