The U.S. labor shortage is reaching a critical point


I have never understood why we should count as unemployed someone who is too lazy to look for work? I mean how difficult is it to get to the local library and search on monster or indeed. You might even be able to do it on your Obama phone, or are they Trump phones now?


That all depends on how the unemployment figures are to be used.

If the unemployment figures are to be used to gauge the overall health of the US economy, then every person not working is a relevant data point, regardless of their reason for not working.

If the unemployment figures are to be used to develop public policy toward the unemployed or toward employers, then we should only count those who are willing to work but have been unable to find that work.


Nope, we can’t ignore those who need gainful employment but are not actively seeking it.


Who determines who needs gainful employment? There are many reasons why people are not in the labor force so who determines which reasons are legitimate?


I agree that we should be interested in why people are not in the labor force. This is something for whom our current data is woefully inadequate. But like you said it is irrelevant to the question of the unemployment rate.


I said specifically for the purpose of setting public policy - like establishing worker training programs. If someone is too lazy to work when he could work, the presence of worker training programs is not going to change that.


I agree, govt funding training programs are not the answer to anything.


Do you think we should get rid of the GI bill?


No, that is a contracted employment benefit, very different.


We can always get rid of it for future enlistees and let them take care of their own training and education.


Only those who have actively looked in the last 4 weeks are counted in the top of the line unemployment number, the publicized one that makes the government look good. A far more accurate picture is only gained when one does the deep dive into the numbers. The number I prefer is the labor force participation rate which is still significantly down from its peak before the 2008 crash. This rate gives weight to those analysts calling this the weakest recovery ever. This number gives a truer idea of what’s going on out there and helps to lay out the reasoning behind open borders being such a terrible idea at this point in time.

Another aspect of this: in skilled job markets, age discrimination is still actively practiced by a lot of companies, even today. Especially in IT. The large companies have very good lawyers who know how work around the laws against this practice which ultimately ends with the layoff candidate forced to sign a non-disclosure, non-disparagement, total indemnification agreement in order to receive any severance payment. I know a few people over 50 who are trying to get back in, but they can’t get hired. Not even to their former companies. Almost all companies want under 40 and want to pay them less.

So again, don’t talk to me about relaxed borders, let alone open borders at this point in time.


Also a very good way to lose a large portion of your potential pool of recruits. A very large percentage of military recruits are enticed by education benefits and list them as a primary or secondary reason for their enlistment. I think paying for education is the least we can do when asking guys to volunteer to get blown up into little tiny pieces for everyone else.


The are not the answer to the specific problem I mentioned, but they can have a role for different problems.


Or we could just give them cash and let them make their own decisions what to do with it.


Sure we could do that. I think it’s a benefit that is very attractive to new recruits though. After a couple years of low skilled work and fairly disciplined living, I also expect they make good use of the education opportunity. Much more so than giving it to the same unemployed person before they joined the service.

There is an idea, maybe applicants to current retraining programs should complete a sort of boot camp and do a year of very low paid community service work.


Countless ways, chief among them redistributing wealth from the rich to the poor.

Yeah there are. Why would you think there aren’t?


People coming in want gardener AND sheet rock jobs.


Supposedly not.


To whom do you wish to redistribute how much of the wealth of the rich?


No, those are the jobs that are easy to get without documentation.

I wish to distribute most of the rich’s wealth to the poor.

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