Matching a Job Opportunity with the Appropriate Labor

We are in earnings season and so it’s a reasonable time to take the pulse of the economy. Three stalwarts – CSX, Alcoa, and Intel – have already reported strong results and the expectation is for it to continue. If earnings are strong, the next question is when will jobs return?

But is it the right question? I’m not sure it is. The distribution of joblessness is not even and never really is. However, the elevated unemployment numbers are up across the board. There are some stats showing improvement, but it’s slight.

June 2009 Feb 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010
Less than a HS Diploma

15.4

15.6

14.5

14.7

15

14.1

HS Grad,  no college

9.8

10.5

10.8

10.6

10.9

10.8

Some college, associate degree

8

8

8.2

8.3

8.3

8.2

Bachelor degree

4.7

5

4.9

4.9

4.7

4.4

And the stats for young workers (under 25 years old) are very high as well.

I often comment that I feel educational resources are not worthwhile for our population of less knowledgeable workers. I generalize the group as the local workers – those that fill roles in the employment ecosystem that have to be performed in a specific location. Construction work is an example. But one angle I haven’t considered in a couple of years is the idea that certain jobs are undesirable and are left to illegal immigrants.

The United Farm Workers labor union is running a campaign called Take Our Jobs which is an effort to highlight the situation of unemployment and illegal workers. It’s easy to think these workers are taking an opportunity from an American, but the reality is the conditions are so tough that very few US Citizens will perform the work. This is literally field work in occasionally 100+ degrees for 40 plus hours a week.

These jobs, as they stand today, keep food prices low, but we can’t have it both ways. We can’t expect to end illegal immigration like what Arizona has proposed, give Americans the jobs, and keep the conditions the same. Improving conditions will entice more American applications for this work, but it will increase the cost of the output – food. Acknowledging these market forces and allowing “guest” laborers is the right path to incrementally improving the conditions and slowly making this job attractive to those that account for the 10%+ unemployed. Or maybe things just aren’t desperate enough?

Here’s a video from The Stephen Colbert Show

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Arturo Rodriguez
www.colbertnation.com
http://media.mtvnservices.com/mgid:cms:item:comedycentral.com:340925
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