The U.S. needs more people who want to be employed to have a continued successful economy.
There is not a shortage of jobs as evidenced by the uptick of 678,000 new jobs last month. We are down to an unemployment rate of 3.8%. The labor force participation rate is 62.3%.
The labor force participation rate is a measurement of the working-age population that is either employed or actively looking for a job. The working-age population is anyone from ages 16 to 64 who is not institutionalized. If you change the age of the population in measuring the rate from 16–64 and only count those 25–54 which is the prime working age, the country is at 82.2%.
Many of those not able to find a job or not actively seeking work simply lack the skills needed by employers today. Others won’t do the hard work of picking crops or other manual labor that is part of the non-skilled labor sector in our economy.
For example, a new house was just built next to my office. Almost every tradesperson on that job was a Hispanic immigrant. Twenty years ago, the craftsmen would have been U.S. born or Europeans. No more! Many of the subs were Hispanic-owned businesses employing more recent arrivals.
Was everyone on that job in the U.S. with the proper immigration papers? I don’t know but the business owners surely were and probably most of the tradespeople. Those guys and a few gals were counted in the labor participation rate.
The illegal border crossings on the Mexican border have never been higher. In the past most have been single men looking for work. Today most are families or children seeking asylum from the dangerous countries of Central America. It is not the same immigrant as 20 years ago.
What that tells me is that in the not-too-distant future, the U.S. will have a severe labor shortage. A shortage, that will make what looks like one today, seem like the “good old days.”
We are already in crisis for the ratio of workers to retirees who are receiving or will receive Social Security benefits. This is not something unique to our country and even China has a similar problem. Europe is in much worse shape. There is a dearth of births in the west and China. If on top, you factor in both legal and illegal immigration not contributing enough workers then the picture is even more bleak.
What America needs today are immigrants. And many of us must get over the fact that Europe will not be where most will come from. Western Europe has a higher standard of living than the U.S.
There is no economic incentive to immigrate from where my ancestors did. Perhaps we will see a surge of Ukrainians, and America would be lucky to have them because of their educational qualification and abilities. But any Ukrainian migration would be only a drop in the bucket.
For the most part, our immigrants will continue to be from Latin America, Asia, and Africa. Some Americans need to get over their fears of a changing America.
In the 1750s, Ben Franklin was afraid that German immigrants would change the character of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania. The first bi-lingual program in New York City schools was for newly arrived German speaking students. How quickly our fears are proven unfounded.
The Irish, Italians, Poles, and Jews were ostracized by those who came before them. Now some of their descendants mouth the same fears about today’s immigrants. Immigrants are our life’s blood because, without it, our nation will not have enough taxpayers, workers, or citizens in the future.
Our genius was the “Melting Pot” of Moynihan and Glazer and not the hateful rhetoric of Rockwell or Duke.