Posted: 03 Sep 2021 05:52 PM PDT
Things just continue to get crazier and crazier. In all of the years that I have been writing about the economy, I have never seen anything like this. The latest employment report that was released on Friday is being described as a “huge disappointment” because the number of Americans that were hired last month was way, way below expectations. Employment only rose by 235,000, but economists were expecting a number about triple that size. Normally when this sort of thing happens it is because of a lack of available jobs. But that is definitely not the case right now. There are literally millions upon millions of jobs that are open, but for a variety of reasons people simply don’t want them.
A lot of experts are blaming COVID for the “worker shortage”, and without a doubt fear of COVID is causing some potential workers to stay home.
In other cases, mask mandates and vaccine mandates are causing people to reject open jobs that they would otherwise accept.
But I don’t think that those are the biggest reasons for the “worker shortage”.
The types of jobs where we are seeing the most severe shortages of workers are jobs that require long hours and hard physical work. These days, there are millions upon millions of Americans that just don’t want to drive trucks, load trains, stock shelves or work at our ports.
Unfortunately, the machinery of our economy comes grinding to a halt without such workers, and we are seeing that right now.
These days, millions of Americans would rather stay home and collect government benefits rather than work a difficult low paying job. In fact, the numbers clearly show that unemployed workers are going back to work much faster in states where enhanced unemployment benefits have been cut off.
That is an easy problem for our politicians to fix, but we are facing another growing trend that won’t be so easy to rectify.
Our young people are increasingly gravitating to the “Internet economy”. They are figuring out that it doesn’t make much sense to put in endless hours at an entry level job when so many others are making big bucks as “social media influencers” instead.
During this pandemic, the White House has invited quite a few top “social media influencers” to the White House, but I don’t think that they have invited a single truck driver.
Of course there are others that have made millions upon millions of dollars buying and selling cryptocurrencies.
Nobody is ever going to become a millionaire unloading container ships, but tons of people have become millionaires by trading cryptos or by becoming social media celebrities.
So why should our young people choose to do the low paying work that nobody else wants to do, when the Internet offers so many other promising opportunities?
I believe that this is the biggest reason why the number of Americans that are employed is still more than 5 million less than it was just prior to the start of the pandemic…
Nearly a year and a half into the recovery, the US economy remains 5.3 million jobs short of where it was in February 2020, before Covid-19 threw a wrench into the gears.
It has been reported that there are currently 9.8 million job openings in the United States.
If you want a job, you can go out and find one.
But the vast majority of the jobs that are available are low paying jobs that are not particularly pleasant.
And the rampant inflation that we are now experiencing is rapidly causing those jobs to lose the limited appeal that they once had.
In a desperate attempt to keep their low paid workforce, officials at Walmart just announced that they will be raising wages for hundreds of thousands of workers…
Walmart is raising the pay for more than 565,000 store employees.
The world’s largest retailer announced Thursday that U.S. store workers in its frontend, food and consumable, and general merchandise workgroups will receive at least a $1 an hour raise.
Elsewhere, a McDonald’s in Oregon has now decided to hire kids as young as 14 after raising wages to 15 dollars an hour did not work…
Businesses across the country are turning to teens as young as 14 to cope with a dire labor shortage, with one McDonald’s in Oregon drawing attention with a huge banner touting the new policy.
The McDonald’s franchise in Medford hung the banner after finding that raising the minimum wage to $15 didn’t bring in many new applications, but opening the door to younger applicants did, operator Heather Coleman told Business Insider.
And earlier today I was stunned to learn that Amazon has decided to start recruiting pot smokers to drive their delivery vehicles…
But it’s not just Amazon’s in-house workforce that needs expanding. Bloomberg reported Wednesday that Amazon has found a solution for the contract delivery drivers it uses to deliver packages from its fulfillment centers to customers’ doorsteps: Recruit pot smokers.
That’s right: despite the fact that driving while high on any substance is illegal, the company is advising its delivery partners to prominently advertise that they don’t screen applicants for marijuana use, according to emails between Amazon and contractors reviewed by Bloomberg.
But no matter what these companies do, it is just going to be really tough to recruit low paid workers in this environment because our leaders have flooded the system with so much cash.
Young people will continue to gravitate toward opportunities on the Internet that they think will make them rich, but meanwhile the machinery of our economy will continue to break down.
The widespread shortages that we have been witnessing just continue to get worse, and earlier today the Wall Street Journal ran a big story about the nightmare that the U.S. auto industry is currently facing…
The U.S. auto industry is heading into one of its biggest selling weekends of the year with dealership lots stripped bare of inventory and some buyers having to drive great distances to secure a new ride.
For a second year in a row, car shoppers are facing bleak prospects in trying to buy a car this Labor Day weekend. The period has historically been a time of blowout deals and big sales events for car companies and dealerships trying to clear out old vehicle stock to make way for the new model year.
On a very basic level, we need workers that will build stuff, move stuff and sell stuff.
Unfortunately, those jobs just aren’t very appealing today.
But if you think that you may want a job at some point in the foreseeable future, I would encourage you to grab one while you still can.
Because this current state of affairs will certainly not last indefinitely, and it won’t be too long before we see some pretty dramatic shifts in the employment marketplace.
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