A ‘Labor Shortage’ Helps Workers

The Quote Below—More Misinformation from the Media

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the June jobs report, which shows that the labor market is tight. American companies are looking for workers. . . . One affordable and perhaps even desirable solution to continue to fill the jobs that are opening at a steady pace is to increase immigration. . . . [President Trump], like others before him, has often used the economy as a reason to limit immigration to the United States, arguing that immigrants take American jobs. . . . In fact, most modern economists would argue that increased immigration is the key to solving [the] labor shortage problem facing our country. – Immigration Is the Best Solution for the Shortage of Workers in America, The Hill, Joseph Minarik and Caroline Ferguson, 7/6/18 [Link]

Fact Check of Quote: The idea we’re facing a labor shortage is hard to understand when studies agree that computers, robots, and other machines will be replacing a third or more to the human workforce within the next ten to twenty years. Even this weren’t the case, the notion that we’re facing a genuine shortage of people who can work is questionable.

Our rate of unemployment is now relatively low. But that rate does not count millions of people of working age who are not in the workforce. Thus we would have a lot more workers if these people could be persuaded to seek employment. Something that would definitely promote that goal would be a general and significant rise of wages. One reason this isn’t happening is the downward pressure that mass immigration exerts on wage levels.

Yes, there is a shortage of workers in some occupations at the wage levels and conditions that some employers are offering. But rather than raise wages and improve conditions, these employers want the easy way out—just keep on hiring foreigners who will accept low wages and hardships. Meanwhile, these workers will apply for welfare so they make ends meet. Thus the American taxpayer is subsidizing the profits of cheap labor-addicted businesses.

As one commentator noted, “A ‘labor shortage’ is good news: It means it’s easier for unemployed people to find jobs, more appealing for people who quit the workforce out of frustration to get back in, and likelier that companies will decide they must pay higher wages to attract talent.”

For more than fifty years, employers have enjoyed the benefits of cheap labor provided by mass immigration. Now it time for American workers to enjoy higher wages and other benefits through lower immigration.


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