from the Stockholm-Syndrome dept.
I saw an story in Slate about stagnant wages in an economy that is growing otherwise:
There's a disturbance in the force of the U.S. economy. An airline canceled flights because it couldn't find enough pilots to steer them. Despite high demand, homebuilders in Colorado are throttling back activity because they can't find the workers to erect frames. Farmers in Alabama are fretting that crops may rot in the ground for a lack of workers to bring in the harvest.
[...] There are a whopping 5.7 million job openings (well over twice the level of eight years ago). Meanwhile, baby boomers are aging out of the workforce at a rapid clip and Mexicans, many of whom crossed the border to work, have been leaving the U.S. for years. The demand for workers is high.
Given these conditions, wages should be rising sharply. But look at this chart from the Atlanta Federal Reserve: They haven't been, and they're not. … Last week, the New York Times featured a Columbus, Ohio, cleaning company owner mystified that he couldn't find applicants for his $9.25-per-hour jobs ("I sometimes wish there was actually a higher unemployment rate," he actually said) and a Nebraska roofer who couldn't figure out why nobody applied for the $17-an-hour jobs she was offering. "The pay is fair," she said.
Actually, if not a single person applies for your job, the pay probably isn't fair. But that's where America remains stubbornly stuck: Employers won't pay enough, and workers either won't or can't demand more. There are likely a lot of reasons, but the biggest, or least most fixable, may be psychological: From an economic perspective, both sides of the hiring market should have the power to increase overall wages in the current climate—but they aren't.
[...] There could be a skills gap in which the workers out there simply don't have the training necessary to fill the open jobs. Or it could be that, as Binyamin Appelbaum of the New York Times ventured on Twitter, that "a lot of American businesses have lost the muscle memory of how to compete for workers." That is to say, they have literally forgotten the words to use, and the tools to deploy, when workers aren't lining up in droves to fill their positions.
I also found this in the Daily Caller. It discusses the shortage of H2B workers this year. Most folks here know about H1B workers... H2B is program for low skill seasonal workers which has seen rule changes and cuts this year.
Businesses in Bar Harbor, Maine are turning to locals to make up for a shortage of foreign guest workers that normally fill summer jobs in the bustling seaside resort town.
Because the H-2B visa program has already reached its annual quota, Bar Harbor's hotels, restaurants and shops can't bring in any more foreign workers for the rest of the busy summer tourist season.
[...] The shortage is so acute that companies are sweetening incentives for local workers. Searchfield says some businesses are offering flexible schedules that might appeal to older workers who might be interested in working only a day or two each week. And other companies have gone so far as to offer higher wages to entice locals.