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  • Jeffrey Goldfarb

Our Employment Problem

Labor | Jobs | Buffalo, NY | New Orleans, LA | Certified B Corp 

Too Many Jobs

While fears of automation and foreign workers taking jobs still plague most social media sights a few statistics might shift our focus to more pressing concerns. With labor markets tight, and national unemployment at 4.1% middle America is facing a labor problem on the producer side. There just aren’t enough workers to fill the open jobs.

While the coasts are growing, states like Iowa are unable to fill a labor force, even for jobs that provide “free programs to train workers.”[1] There are just too many vacant jobs. The Wall Street Journal reports there are nearly 200,000 more jobs than unemployed laborers in the Midwest.[2] The article goes on to say 63% of rural job openings report to having too few applicants.

This is not a time to cut our labor market off from the rest of the world. PEW reports that millennials are not only getting married later and less frequently, but are also having fewer kids than previous generations.[3] This means our future labor force will be too small without outside help. Future generations just won’t have the man power to fill the shoes of the large populations before them.

The other issue is younger generations just don’t want to live in the Midwest. Millennials are moving less[4] and the ones that are moving are leaving the Midwest. Illinois had the highest percentage of people leaving the state in 2017.[5] The rest of the Midwest had similar numbers: “A net 1.3 million people living in the Midwest in 2010 had left by the middle of last year [2017].”[6]

This doesn’t have to be a negative though. The American private sector is still one of the most attractive markets to work in. Laborers, and entrepreneurs want to work here; they want to build something here, and all we have to do is let them.


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[1] http://globegazette.com/news/iowa/reynolds-signs-future-iowa-plan-into-law-to-address-high/article_aa42735d-51bf-5821-8c94-4a7d473afa5d.html

[2] https://www.wsj.com/articles/iowas-employment-problem-too-many-jobs-not-enough-people-1522580400

[3] http://fox8.com/2017/11/20/baby-bust-millennials-arent-having-enough-babies-to-keep-up-with-generation-before-them/

[4] http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/02/13/americans-are-moving-at-historically-low-rates-in-part-because-millennials-are-staying-put/

[5] https://www.forbes.com/sites/karstenstrauss/2018/01/10/the-u-s-states-people-are-fleeing-and-the-ones-they-are-moving-to/#2e58dc8326c3

[6] https://www.wsj.com/articles/iowas-employment-problem-too-many-jobs-not-enough-people-1522580400

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