America is experiencing a "great shift" in the workforce, not a great resignation, Milken Institute Center for Regional Economics Director Eugene Cornelius told Fox News Digital.
"People are looking for jobs that they can find advancement, people are looking for opportunities, and they’re looking for higher wages," he said.
Cornelius referenced the labor participation rate, which he said is "getting close to pre-COVID."
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the civilian labor force participation rate was at 63.4% in January of 2020, and in April of 2022 was at 62.2%.
Those who are resigning, Cornelius said, are looking for opportunities for advancement and higher-paying jobs.
"We’re moving from jobs that are at the lower sphere… and they’re going for higher-qualified jobs," he said.
Filling those jobs left open, and ensuring a high labor participation rate, requires solutions from policymakers Cornelius said "are not keeping up" with the trends exacerbated by COVID.
"We’re not looking at what is going on," he said at the Milken Institute 2022 Global Conference. "The cost of child care, the cost of transportation, inflation is hitting the worker in a place where he or she is deciding that this job is not working for me."
"They’re looking at alternatives, moving to places with affordable housing," Cornelius added. "They’re looking at starting [their] own business."
Cornelius said policymakers needed to focus on issues like immigration and child care to ensure a stable workforce.
"If we don’t deal with immigration, if we don’t deal with the opioid epidemic that is really savaging our working age group, then we will never get past where we are now," Cornelius added.
He also noted that education needs to change its focus in order to keep up with the demands of a changing workforce.
"We’re focused on the four-year colleges, we’re not focused on the vocational colleges, we’re not focused on the vocational colleges, we’re not focused on the certificate programs," he said, noting that these programs would help advance workers through their career.