As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt people's livelihoods through a second year, a lot of people are choosing to defer having children.

Media stories lament a 'baby bust' and worry that there won't be enough workers to look after the increasing numbers of elderly. The People's Republic of China is taking further measures to encourage parenting. But the biggest challenge in recovering from the pandemic is not a shortage of workers, but finding enough jobs for those who need them.

This is not your ordinary recession – more money is flowing than ever, thanks to economic stimulus. But more of it needs to reach small businesses. The recovery must stimulate local spending and get people back into jobs. Any trend that tightens the labor market will help.

A surfeit, rather than a shortage, of job-seekers is not a new thing. As the eminent British economist Adair Turner reminds us, "In a world where technology enables us to automate ever more jobs, the far bigger problem is too many potential workers, not too few." Why then are we so worried about population aging?

A version of this article appears in the print on September 20 2021, of The Himalayan Times.