What do Biden’s expanded infrastructure proposal, unemployment benefits, immigration, mortality rate, and the birth rate all have in common with filling low paying jobs?
Aspects of each of these helps explain why there is a shortage of workers willing to take jobs for pre-pandemic pay. The first is immigration. All immigration both with and without government permission is down.
Earlier this century and for most of the 20th century, the immigrants crossing the southern border without permission were mostly men looking for work. Most of these were the chief source of cheap labor for menial jobs in restaurants, construction, agriculture, and landscaping.
What we see at the border today are families and children who are fleeing social, climatic, and economic hardships. They are being apprehended as they cross at greater rates than the earlier immigrants. That is why we have the statistic that there have been a million apprehensions since last October. Without a steady stream of the single male immigrant, there becomes a labor shortage in those industries which are the very industries now clamoring for employees.
In the past 2 years, the U.S. mortality rate has increased substantially while our birthrate has decreased to lower than it was even during the 1930s Depression. These three numbers (immigration, birth, and death rates) have resulted in a national growth rate of .35%, which is the lowest it has been in the past 120 years.
For years, we have heard that the undocumented were snatching all the good paying American jobs. What we have now are Americans who will not work for the wages previously paid. Without a steady inflow of immigrants for these low paying jobs, the alternative is for employers to pay substantially more to Americans. Because of increased wage costs, prices for a restaurant meal or to have grass mowed will, most likely, increase substantially. How many of us would contemplate going back to the 1960s when only the affluent went out to eat every week or most middle-class homeowners mowed their own lawns.
Much has been said about providing increased unemployment benefits that results in people not returning to working. There is probably some truth to that, but for many families, there is another more prevalent reason…the lack of day care. In retail and restaurants, since schools were not open and the before- and after-school programs were all but eliminated, many parents have had no…