By Michael J. Quaranta
The new normal is not the old normal or whatever that was! This year started off with a new variant of COVID-19—Omicron—and the postponement of our Annual Dinner. Supply chain woes slowly began to resolve themselves but still persist. International disruptions were experienced as a direct result of the Russian invasion of the Ukraine and created roiling energy markets and more. The Federal Reserve Bank raised the federal funds rate multiple times to spell inflation concerns, while borrowing costs surged for consumers and businesses alike.
These and other challenges served as a backdrop for State Chamber members who continue to wrestle with workforce scarcity. As Baby Boomers continue to reach retirement eligibility at a pace of 10,000 per day—a rate that will not relent until 2029—employers face enormous pressure to fill jobs. Without the immediate relief that could come from a strategic immigration policy; changes to Social Security wage laws that restrict
the income of older workers; or elected leaders doing more to meet the emergency of job vacancies in industries like health care, teaching, technology, and the building trades, technology will march on and idle more of us without in-demand skills.
If nothing else, 2022 proved that we have work to do and precious little time to waste. Workforce remains a top priority for the business community, as does the speed with which permitting decisions are made. We need policymakers to be a partner in solving these challenges and recognize that business cycles are moving faster than ever. We also need to recognize that new laws and regulations, while created separately, have an accumulated effect on businesses and that oftentimes is a fact that goes under appreciated.
Now more than ever it is important for each of us to invite elected officials into your place of business—be it an office, store, factory, or school—and help them understand what you do, how you do it, the supplies you
need to accomplish your end-product, who your customers are, and how incredibly valuable your employees are to your success.
Policymakers are called upon to make decisions on a wide range of issues every day, and there is no possible way they can fully appreciate the impacts the choices they make will have on you and your colleagues. That’s why it is so important for you to establish those relationships early and continue sharing updates as your priorities change, customers grow, or supplies run dry. They cannot make good decisions with limited information. This is why you are such a critical link to better policy outcomes.
Politics in Delaware are changing, and it follows then that the decisions made will be different too. Your participation and involvement will help shape the outcome in the new year and beyond. I’m certain of that.