A Salute to Last All Year
By Dan Markham
on Sep 4, 2023
For many Americans, and perhaps even Canadians, the first Monday in September marks the unofficial close of summer. The last chance for beach visits, backyard barbecues and other warm-weather events.
But obviously there’s a reason for our three-day weekend beyond fun and games. Today (I’m writing this Monday), we salute the American laborer (or Canadian labourer), those men and women who have served as the backbone of our economy for more than 150 years.
Labor, or the absence of it, has been a major storyline in the metals supply chain for the past three years, ever since the initial wave of the COVID pandemic shut down life as we knew it. When it was time to reopen everything (not so much service centers, which never really closed), we discovered a lot fewer able bodies than we were used to.
Some will blame the lazy, good-for-nothing Millennials and Gen Zs for the personnel shortage. And while that’s a comforting narrative for an old-timer like me, it’s probably not terribly accurate. This is mostly just a case of demographics finally catching up with us.
So, for the foreseeable future, keeping your business at peak productivity is going to take creativity and innovation. It’s also going to require making sure you recognize and value the existing workforce on all of the days, not just the first Monday in September.