Labor Shortages

I read last week that there are a growing number of regions around the country where there are labor shortages. Businesses literally cannot find the workers they need to operate their businesses.

Today is Labor Day, a day to celebrate the workers who built America and the labor movement that rose up to protect workers from abusive labor practices.

And so it is worth noting that we don’t have enough labor in our country right now. Some of this results from the strong economy which is ten+ years into an expansion. Some of this results from restrictive immigration policies.

But whatever the cause, we have an abundance of capital and a shortage of labor in the economy right now.

That makes it difficult to operate a business and even more difficult to expand. Automation can solve some of these issues and I expect we will see more automation in an environment where capital is available to fund investments in automation and labor is very tight.

But the other question is how much longer should we maintain a restrictive immigration policy. I believe we should have more legal immigration in the United States. We have labor shortages and many talented people who would like to come here and live and work.

It seems like a no brainer to me that we should expand legal immigration in the US right now.


Comments (Archived):

  1. jason wright

    Change the education system.

  2. kenberger

    “It seems like a no brainer to me that we should expand legal immigration in the US right now.”– There’s that word “should”– with the current administration, *should* doesn’t mean much.We also should let China keep doing its thing, and not actively encourage US coal mines to re-open and Apple to make iPhones in the US, but the reality is absurdly a different story.

    1. JLM

      .I would write you a longer answer but I am fleeing Hurricane Dorian and am pressed for time.There has never been an admin more ready to do a global deal on immigration in the last 100 years than the Trump admin.This problem is owned by the Dems.Pres Trump married 2 immigrants and his Mom was an immigrant.Give the SOB his fucking WALL and Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer can write the rest of the bill. BTW the same Dems were in full support of the WALL pre-Trump.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  3. campryenwater

    Would it be possible to share the article location? Thank you for all of the time you dedicate to this page. I enjoy it immensely!

  4. John Francis Charles

    It is also true that we have a labor force participation rate of 63%, which has not recovered from the great recession:…. I think the reasons for this can be disputed, but it is important to note that at present, 37% of the US working age population is not working and those individuals are not counted in the unemployment rate because they are not actively seeking work.

    1. Frederic Mari

      That needs more emphasis than a single upvote.Before you (as in Fred Wilson/others arguing for increased legal immigration) consider getting Labor from abroad, why don’t you improve your apparently pretty wasteful use of your existing human resources?

      1. John Francis Charles

        I think it’s just complicated. On the one hand, low wage foreign workers are willing to do things US citizens simply will not and for less, and that keeps costs down. On the other, we need to be attracting the best and brightest minds from all over the world, as we always have. Automation will take away a lot of jobs, but simply building roads did not work (and that’s what Joe Biden and a Democratic administration will do). A restructured workforce takes more time than the short life of a politician’s career.

        1. OldManGoldenwords

          Absolutely false. Contact dept of labor. They will send you bunch of resume in whatever you want. Most companies want these cheap foreign workers bcus they dont understand local laws. Once foreign workers learn local laws they too will demand same as US Citizen. What these employers are doing is gaming the system. They dont have any business in being in business.

    2. Mike

      Thank you for sharing this statistic on labor force participation. I will also point out that the US has an aging population. In developed economies birth rates decline, population demographics get older and the labor force supporting that population can contract. Immigration can play a key role in maintaining a young and vibrant work force and can be a competitive advantage for an economy.In my mind fairness of the current capital structures is a separate discussion. There are many well articulated thoughts on the board today on this topic. But for today’s post I have to agree with the basic premise that immigration policy can be a key component to the future growth of the US economy. The debate will continue on how we can all best individually and collectively benefit from this growth and what is fair.

      1. John Francis Charles

        Thanks for pointing that out, I had thought that there was a specific age range for this statistic but when I glanced at the chart I noticed there doesn’t seem to be a cutoff, which is odd to me. I had thought it was 75.

        1. John Francis Charles

          The participation rate is an important metric to use when analyzing unemployment data because it reflects the number of people who are interested in participating in the workforce. These people are either looking for employment or are employed, and are at or above the working age of 16. People not included in the participation rate include those who do not want to work or can’t work. This includes students, homemakers, incarcerated people and retirees.

          1. Mike

            Yes, thanks again for sharing.

    3. JLM

      .In general, I agree with your point, but the issue of LFPR screams out for cohort analysis as the segments of the labor force behave quite differently when looked at with an overlay of age, gender, ethnicity, and family status (mothers with sub-18 year old children).In my view, having followed this statistic for more than 40 years, the causation is wage levels. There is, of course, no data pertinent to the US overpaying workers, but the BLS data and other significant bodies of data (actual hiring experiences from large employers) show clearly that higher wages drag people off the bench and into the work force.Nobody should be surprised by that impact.Those who note that the work force is aging have to also recognize that enhanced life expectancy creates a requirement for workers to feed themselves — work — into age levels that were not contemplated before.Much of the aging work force is simply the reality that folks cannot afford to retire as they are living so long.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredcarcom

  5. scottb

    Every time you see the phrase “businesses literally cannot find the workers they need..” extend it with “…at the terrible wages they are willing to pay.” The biggest capitalism/supply & demand cheerleaders are often those who throw out those lofty ideals when it comes to labor – the cost of labor should be fixed below the poverty line, and/or minimum wage, which shall never go up. Why is that? The guy who replaced my roof complained to me that he “couldn’t get workers” and needed immigrants to fill the roles – a few minutes later I verified that he intended to pay minimum wage with no benefits for people to stand on roofs for 12+ hour days in the middle of summer. The same is true for restaurants and a hundred other jobs – minimum wage with no benefits, ever. Perhaps part of the equation should be actually paying people more money to see if the roles fill up, a very classically capitalist idea…

    1. Frank Jaskulke

      If your roofer is paying minimum wage I’d get a different roofer.

    2. BobWarfield

      scottb, you are exactly right.Unemployment is low, but it is the most distorted and manipulated data you can find. They literally take you off the count if you don’t find a job quickly enough.A better stat is percentage employed. It shows we’re nowhere near pre-recession levels yet:…I read everywhere that highly skilled workers like software developers just can’t be found. I’m here in Silicon Valley, and it’s total BS. First, there’s huge age discrimination. People don’t want to pay for experience. Second, the market has held down salaries like crazy. Salaries for developers have been almost flat for a long time. Here they are for UX people:…Not a fan of radically opening up the visa situation. I know the VC’s love it. They’re not interested in giving any developers a raise, they just want their dollars to go as far as possible.

  6. pointsnfigures

    time to try Gary Becker’s idea, charge for it. Radical. Elegant. Innovative.

  7. John Pepper

    One of the businesses I own – a small restaurant chain – employs 150 people in two of the states (MA & NH) with the lowest unemployment rates in the country…. We hear everywhere of situations where retailers and restaurants can’t open for days at a time because there is nobody available to work (and new concepts opening for the first time often delay openings too for same reason). The solution in our case has simply been to pay (usually much) higher wages, which in our industry is still embarrassingly low. That said, those higher wages (avg ~$15/hour for non-managers) have definitely negatively impacted our bottom line and we have fallen below what I consider to be “investment-grade” economics during the past 6 years. But since we no longer have outside institutional investors, in 2019 with the income and wealth gaps continuing to widen, it feels wrong not to work on this situation proactively for the few of us who have the control to do it.The sad truth is that many businesses today, especially in notoriously low wage industries, rely on the legal right to underpay people to stay in business. If they pay more, they make inadequate profit or go out of business altogether. I’ve always felt these aren’t “real” businesses… if you can’t figure out a model that pays your vendors, your landlords, your debts, AND your employees what they are owed, you aren’t really in business, you are out of business.One of the McDonalds’ in a nearby town has steadily increased their “NOW HIRING” signs from “starting up to $10 per hour” a couple of years ago to “starting up to $14 per hour” today. Apparently they are no longer facing the same “labor shortage” they were 2 years ago… even though regionally it obviously continues to exist.The solution to the labor shortage for some businesses, especially those trying to get away with paying paltry wages, is to figure out how to pay people what they deserve. Amazing how fast the “shortage” simply vanishes when you do that.

    1. bunnahabhain

      Very well said!I have long believed that if your business is based upon the concept of paying your employees poorly, that you don’t have a viable business model. No one has the absolute “right” to stay in any business. Adjust your model so that everyone wins.Either that, or find a better business to be in.

      1. Erin

        Yes. No one has the absolute right to be in business. If you can’t afford to give your employees a living wage, You. don’t Have. a Viable. Business. Model. Say it with me.

        1. awaldstein

          I agree but with food and wellness businesses this is more complex and tied to how easily capital is available.Non tech products that don’t by model attract VC money where only scale bring ingredient costs in line are challenged from day 1 with this. As banks and other lending sources really don’t help much.It is nuanced and difficult to figure out how to deal with this especially in non tech endeavors.

        2. Richard

          What’s a living wage for a 17 year old high school student? There I said it!

    2. JLM

      .Stronger than an acre of garlic. Well played.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  8. Richard

    It’s difficult to get a man [fred] to understand something when his income [and identity] depends on him not understanding it.Upton Sinclair

  9. bunnahabhain

    To add to what some of the others have already covered, there are a significant number of older employees (and by “older”, I mean anyone over 40) who find themselves either unemployed, or underemployed. They are more than capable of filling the available jobs!Companies will moan and groan to the government about a labour shortage, while completely overlooking that group. The reality is that they do not want to pay a competitive wage. Sadly, too many business want to keep all of the success to the shareholders and the executive suite.

    1. sigmaalgebra

      The reality is that they do not want to pay a competitive wage. NO!!!! They don’t want people over 40, at ANY wage, not even minimum wage, PERIOD. They get tons of resumes, look at graduation dates, infer the age, and junk any resumes over 40. They don’t make offers and get turned down for wage too low; instead they make no offers at all. They don’t call. Did I mention, they junk the resumes. PERIOD. They treat people over 40 as if they had long records as violent criminals.

  10. Richard

    In the USA this century – Immigration is a short run fix – riddled with externalities – to a long run problem.In the long run, we have a wonderful way of creating a skilled workforce … Parents having positive replacement level kids.Until we address this problem, we are not a nation – we are a venture capital company.

  11. Matt McPheely

    I agree with the idea that labor shortages mostly disappear by paying more, though that’s a nuanced and complicated issue by itself. The piece missing in this conversation so far is the fact that within a couple decades the world will reach peak population and need as much immigration as we can get (…. Even now, the only way we’re able to grow is through immigration (both documented and undocumented). Taking the long view of this issue is important now – though admittedly as unlikely as anything I can think of. We need to be setting the stage now, like we did in previous eras, for the US to be the land of opportunity for those willing to work.

  12. gmalov

    Immigration is one lever to address the shortfall in labor supply but that approach also continues to reinforce the systemic problems in our workforce – skill misalignment. We also need to work on structural development issues with our workforce pool, create better alignment between the demands for today and tomorrows job skills with job openings.We should take measures to avoid scaling such non-conforming distributions of labor, this is at the root cause of our scarcity and inefficiencies.

  13. Erin

    Yeah I couldn’t disagree more here. You definitely don’t have a labor shortage- you have people unable to make ends meet with the embarassingly low wages being offered them. With the ever-increasing use of shift work and just in time scheduling, single parents are unable to find childcare at the last minute to make it to their shift where they barely make enough to cover the cost of child care. Moreover, no one is hiring people 40+ because of the health insurance needed to pay for them. Plus, the 37% (or whatever) of people who have taken themselves out of the labour force (no longer looking for work), most of them are no longer looking (haven’t applied for a job in over a year, I think) because they have given up. Think about how much discouragement it takes to give up looking for work for an entire YEAR. If you increase immigration, you will be ignoring one of the biggest cesspools of corporate sin going on right now- No one is increasing the wages of the middle and lower class to keep up with inflation, and havent since the 70’s; instead, CEO’s are taking the profits of our working harder and faster with the same amount of pay, and giving them to shareholders in the form of dividends. So the lower and middle classes are falling further behind, and investors are making money off what should be our wages. There are “labour shortages” because we don’t get paid enough to be interested in the crumbs offered us, crumbs we can’t live off or organize transportation around. To invite immigrants into that kind of nightmare employment scenario is to just increase the numbers in the struggling and defeated American working class. Actually, immigrants can live eight people to a two-bedroom apartment, and 7$ an hour is heaven to many of them, so if that’s who you’re envisioning competing against Americans your age who can’t pay their mortgage (because they refinanced their house in 2008), then you might want to re-look at that study you just quoted and see which blind and out-of-touch asshole wrote it.

    1. JLM

      .There is some punctuation in your comment with which I do not agree, but otherwise YOU. NAILED. IT.Expanded immigration expands the low cost labor gulag.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. Erin

        Lol. Otherwise I love immigration. I love the different cultures and languages. Just not if it’s an excuse to not do anything about the working conditions already in place.

  14. Kirsten Lambertsen

    This post creates so much cognitive dissonance for me, even though I agree whole heartedly about expanding legal immigration.What are the industries that are experiencing these labor shortages? Where are these regions?It’s in stark contrast to the mid-westerners and southerners that are being interviewed on the news all the time, in tears because they can’t find work. It contrasts the huge number of professional people in their 50’s who report that no one will hire them despite their vast experience in industries like tech and advertising.Can they not find employees? Or can they not find young people who live within walking distance from the place of employment who will work part-time for $8/hr with no benefits? (I’m just taking a stab, here, at what might be the real story.)

    1. Richard

      Yep, let the tech ceo’s come to where the talent is in the middle of the county – like so many of their predecessors did. Truth is that these brats just don’t want to give us their northern Cali life styles.

    2. JLM

      .Ageism in the USA starts at 35. I agree more with you than you do with yourself.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  15. sigmaalgebra

    One source of a “labor shortage” the birth rate is so low we are going extinct, literally, rapidly. Women have a super tough time finding a husband who can support a stay at home wife and mother and afford a three bedroom, two bath house with a white picket fence. Why? Actually we have become a poor country. Why? A big reason is the treasure we threw away on absurd foreign adventures, e.g., Viet Nam, …, Akrapistan.Another source of a “labor shortage”: Management is intellectually lazy, feels entitled, and arrogant and insists on workers they can exploit and can easily replace. Soooo, the management isn’t working very smart; management has seen to it their workers are not very smart; the business is not doing very well; the business can’t afford to pay more; and management blames a “labor shortage”.Another point is our foreign trade situation: We have shipped far too many jobs overseas. So, a lot of businesses went out of business, and our economy got sick.Another point is that management wants to get the work done with employees on “gigs” — temporary, no career.Summary: Our economy is very sick.

  16. OldManGoldenwords

    We need immigration only in very very specialized skill set. Immigration shouldnt be tool to drive down living wages for locals. Thats why Amazon was kicked out of NY. Pay living wages to employee and shut down zombie companies.

  17. Hugo Jenkins

    Imagine if you couldn’t quit your low paying job because your kid was sick and you couldn’t afford their medicine without the healthcare provided by your employer.Wait, you’re in the US, you don’t have to imagine. That is reality there. Nowhere else in the developed world is this acceptable. If the USA had worker conditions on par with any developed nation in the world, you’d have no problem finding people to do all the jobs you have.But because being employed in the US means that your health insurance is tied to your employment, replicating the slavery system, there’s no way that workers from any country with effective healthcare systems would want to work there.Obviously there are exceptions, like the tech industry, where employers have to pay people somewhat close to their value to find talent. However it still baffles me that skilled workers move from places like Australia, the UK or the EU to the US to work in the tech industry. In that situation, you’re trading your fundamental human right to health for having a Google or Amazon on your resume. If you’re 23 it’s probably fine, but as soon as you start a family, it becomes impossible to consider.

    1. Kirsten Lambertsen

      Health insurance slaves are the new wage slaves.

    2. sigmaalgebra

      Imagine if you couldn’t quit your low paying job because your kid was sick and you couldn’t afford their medicine without the healthcare provided by your employer.Step 1: Find your local Federally funded Community Health Center.Step 2: Go and have them confirm your need for medication. E.g., maybe you have a prescription from a physician.Step 3: Make it clear you can’t afford the medication or for that matter either the visit to the Health Center. Helps to be on food stamps. Being on Medicaid likely also helps. Maybe got the prescription for the medication from a visit to a Hill-Burton hospital, that is, funded by the Hill-Burton act of Congress, that is, nearly all the major hospitals in the US. There medical care is available “without regard for ability to pay”. Or just go to the research-teaching hospital of a major medical school, e.g., Johns Hopkins.Step 5: Get a little special piece of paper with an address of a little pharmacy in likely a poor section of town.Step 6: Visit the little pharmacy, hand over the paper, and get the medication, including some that are wildly expensive, for little or nothing.Any questions?Don’t rush to hock your Boeing 757 or get a second mortgage on your chalet in Aspen or your boat house in Palm Beach before you try the above!

  18. dadInMV

    Easy solution, pay them more.

  19. sigmaalgebra

    For all the putative expertise here in world trade, US finance, and US macro and micro economics, everyone seems to be missing some simple facts that many thousands of unschooled peasants from Squatemala, etc. who risk their lives to come to the US, live a dozen at a time in a two bedroom apartment, and get paid $10 an hour know VERY well:(1) They get paid in green cash with no deductions; they pay no income taxes, etc.(2) They live CHEAP.(3) Their apartment situation may violate local zoning laws.(4) Their transportation may violate state traffic laws.(5) They can get free medical care in the US Community Health Centers and at Hill-Burton hospitals.(6) They are essentially immune to the US legal system, e.g., can’t have their cash taken by a legal judgment, can’t go to jail, likely won’t be deported, and if deported can just return.(7) And, best of all, after a year or two in the US, or even after just one harvest season or outdoor work season, they can take their green cash back to Squatemala and sweetheart and the six little ones and live surprisingly well. So, they are playing a currency exchange rate game.(8) US labor can NOT do those things. Soooo, in a lot of US cities we have some REALLY bad neighborhoods with unemployed people who SHOULD be doing that labor but have committed the infraction of being US citizens and not citizens of Squatemala.To borrow from a movie, “Are we learning yet?”. Or did we already know but conveniently forget?

  20. JLM

    .I don’t believe that the US has a shortage of labor by any sense of the imagination. There are regions of the US wherein there are unrealistic employer expectations at given levels of compensation for a small number of very sought after skill sets. When Freddie reports there are shortages, he is talking his book and protecting his own turf — nothing wrong with that, but it is not a widespread problem.Taken with Freddie’s blog post of yesterday discussing the offshoring of labor, this is a perfect example of the hunger of employers for low cost, but high talent labor. The employer expects the employee to solve their problem. Pay more money and you can have as much talent as you can afford.If you want to start a business in NYC and compare the cost to starting that same business in Austin By God Texas — there may be enormous differences in the basic costs from rent to utilities to labor. If you are able to turn a profit, the issue of taxes becomes important.This is a healthy, capitalistic phenomenon as it is a free market auction for talent with a geographical twist. Eventually the market will balance the costs and advantages as long as there is no outside interference.The recent auction conducted by Amazon wherein Long Island City ended up in the winner’s circle until left leaning politicians collided with each other thereby aborting their own baby on its birthday is a perfect example of the power of the auction coupled with the stupidity of political interference in free market endeavors.The thing speaks for itself. Nobody got anything except for self-adulation amongst folks in love with their own egos. The workers got screwed. Royally.If you study the legal immigration system, we actually have the intellectual underpinning for a merit based, talent based, skill based system that should draw the best and the brightest to our shores. It is not DACA, anchor babies, birthright citizenship, or H1B visas. Those are all side shows.Again, the interference of politics injects a number of truly stupid initiatives that have nothing to do with the depth of the talent pool.I am very much in favor of widening, deepening, and broadening the flow of qualified immigrants to the US — in particular foreign students who have been educated in the US. The US is missing a huge opportunity to strengthen the work force.A merit based system — solely merit based — would serve the country well. We could easily 2X – 4X the annual flow of LEGAL immigrants to the US all with a green card and a 5-year path to citizenship.To get that done politically, requires the US Congress to deal with the tidal flow of ILLEGAL aliens entering or seeking to enter the country. There is likely not the skill in the US Congress to fashion a solution without a blanket amnesty. They are literally too stupid and too mean to be able to make anything else work.If we had a real border, granted a blanket amnesty without a path to citizenship, we would be able to increase LEGAL immigration of quality applicants by 2X-4X by harnessing the resultant goodwill.We will not do this even though the makings of a deal have been on the table for a decade. We will continue to bitch about labor shortages that are really complaints about the appropriate high cost of good labor.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. sigmaalgebra

      ForThere are regions of the US wherein there are unrealistic employer expectations at given levels of compensation for a small number of very sought after skill sets. Each “skill” in the “skill sets” can be learned in about a month, a week with good documentation and training, but ages faster than butterflies. That recruiting is for a “gig”, not a job. The “skill” is, say, for using a laser to measure for installing a granite kitchen counter top. That’s not a career or even a job but just a gig. Same for some specialized case of welding or some niche software application.The employers are going for gigs instead of careers because their business sucks. It’s like in Grapes of Wrath in the Great Depression where in Oklahoma there were lots of fliers saying how many great jobs there were picking fruit in California — except they were gigs, not jobs. That’s because the whole economy was on its back — it’s nearly that bad now.Proof: Look at the birth rate, which is so low we are going extinct.ForTaken with Freddie’s blog post of yesterday discussing the offshoring of labor, this is a perfect example of the hunger of employers for low cost, but high talent labor. “Talent” is just cheap perfume on a euphemism for a situation of sad exploitation. “Talent”, e.g., SAT aptitude scores, has NOTHING to do with it. Instead, they are looking for “skills” in narrow niches as a gig.The employer expects the employee to solve their problem. That’s what you do when you need a new muffler, a new roof, or a new kitchen counter top. It’s not a career or even a job.The businesses are so bad off they can’t offer real jobs.If you study the legal immigration system, we actually have the intellectual underpinning for a merit based, talent based, skill based system that should draw the best and the brightest to our shores. First, I will set aside the really awful Viet Nam associated meaning of “the best and the brightest”. That done, we don’t: They are happy, perfectly happy, over there, at home, way over there, perfectly happy, in Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and more. PERFECTLY happy, and commonly regard the US as “not worthy”, and basically they are fully correct.ForI am very much in favor of widening, deepening, and broadening the flow of qualified immigrants to the US — in particular foreign students who have been educated in the US. Let me get this straight: So, some Saudi prince wants to go to a high end US college. Sooooo, Daddy brings his checkbook, and presto, bingo, prince is admitted. Okay.Otherwise, who in South Korea, Pakistan, India, Russia, Estonia, Greece, etc. can afford to pay the $100,000 or so a year for tuition, books, fees, room, board, clothes, other expenses at a high end US university? Hint: Nearly no one.Sooooo, what’s going on? Well, when I was in DC working in applied math and computing for US national security problems and making in annual salary six times what a new high end Camaro cost, spending less than 10% of my gross income on our apartment, eating about once a month at the best French restaurants, getting good grape juice samples from the Côte-d’Or, right, Pommard, Volnay, Chambertin, Nuit St. George, etc., being regulars at Shenandoah, Wolf Trap Farm Park, Arena Stage, the Kennedy Center (where my wife got us, for me, center, front row seats for Nathan Milstein playing the Bach Chaconne where I got a really good “master class” violin lesson for my playing of that music), and saving money rapidly, too many big shot suits got really PISSED OFF and DID something about it: They went to Congress who went to the NSF who wrote into STEM field university research grant contracts that so many graduate students had to be supported, and, hint, hint, could get them from Taiwan, India, South Korea, Greece, etc.Sooooo, NO WAY were those students paying the real cost of their education — NO WAY.Instead the university was paying, from the NSF paying, from Congress paying, from US TAX PAYERS paying, PAYING for the education of students from other countries, PAYING when they were struggling to pay for such educations for their OWN CHILDREN, where they were being RIPPED OFF.The NSF hired some economists to estimate some supply and demand curves and see what would be necessary to bring down, WAY down, the salaries in STEM field careers. And they DID just that. They did it so well that such careers became ghettos where native born US citizens need not apply.They destroyed my career, deliberately, totally, absolutely, positively.Well, in applied math and computing, I’m still in the narrow row of the front seats, but I MUST start a business. Due to the big shots that destroyed my career, there’s NO WAY I could ever be hired at ANYTHING in a STEM field or ANYTHING above common labor for minimum wage — TOTALLY LITERALLY. I’ve never been arrested or charged with a crime, but I’m treated like a several time felon.The issue is “health insurance”? WHAT health insurance?And you want to spray cheap perfume on this deliberate ripoff.”Talent”? HAW!!!!!! Let’s put $1000 on the table and then show SAT MATH scores. IBM long had a very challenging programming aptitude test; we can match that score, too.No one has ever beaten me by very much, but I have a friend who might beat me by a little. However, he’s happy, very happy, thank you, in France, with a nice place in Paris. His Ph.D. advisor is a member of Bourbaki. Basically both he and his advisor are in the top rarefied air of world class mathematics. But don’t look for them being eager to come to the US for more than short visits.The situation is simple: Some US big shot suits felt threatened by STEM field expertise and PISSED OFF that people like me might save up and actually buy a house and have kids and, thus, wanted to reduce STEM field careers to gig workers with careers often less good than the owner of a successful suburban grass mowing service, literally. And they did. Quality? The suits don’t know about quality.Okay; okay. But the suits didn’t understand even as much as dip squat about STEM field quality. In particular, they believed that computing was a big thing for the future so for that future pushed hard on computer science. Dumb. Computer science had a run of some okay work for a few decades but now is totally out of gas, bullets, ideas, direction, etc. The only future of computer science is by standing on parts of pure math. Sorry ’bout that. But the suits didn’t know that and, thus, ruined the high end of US computing.Of course, Trump keeps saying that he wants highly qualified immigrants, e.g., staple a Green Card to every STEM field diploma (for immigrants, paid for by US tax payers struggling to pay for such educations for their own children). That’s a proposal for a total ripoff of US taxpayers, their children, and STEM field graduates. RIPOFF, and a really big, insulting slap in the face of all voting US STEM field workers.Those immigrants are NOT better than US citizens.The situation is like Farberware pots: Back in about 1980, they were made in the US and really good. Now they are imported and get comments on Amazon that they are junk.But the good news is that for immigrants the good people Trump says he wants will rarely want to come to the US or stay here after they graduate.Soooo, for me, that big shot suit disaster is now an opportunity: Computer science, Silicon Valley, and Sand Hill Road are, in the crucial, core math, incompetent to compete with me and my startup.

  21. sigmaalgebra

    Short but crucial description of the situation: The big shot suits have the middle class US citizens so poor they are having so few babies they are going extinct. Then, for young labor, the suits want to import foreigners. Then the US will have just what the suits want, suits, no middle class, and immigrant slave labor.Solution: US middle class citizens need to get informed and VOTE, vote out the politicians serving the suits and ripping off the US middle class.

  22. Pascal Aschwanden

    A real labor shortage would result in higher wages. We don’t see higher wages, therefore there is no labor shortage. Companies are leaving job postings up and not taking them down, despite the fact that they don’t really need those positions to get filled. I’ve witnessed as other interview for these fake job positions. Throughout the whole process, it’s obvious those companies aren’t in need of labor at all.Let’s not get confused by job postings that don’t need to be filled. At the end of the day, action is what we should be basing our analysis on. No wage increases and no alternate means of replacing that labor such as automation, means no labor shortage.As an owner of capital, I can understand why you would want more immigration. As for the 99%, the rest of the US, immigrants are just going to take the few jobs that are left.

  23. Prokofy

    I’m all for expanding immigration. And I don’t think we can reasonably and humanely stop immigration from Latin America. There are so many wars in the world that we can and should take in refugees — we have the space and affluence. And there are so many areas where labour is needed as you say that we should take in immigrants. A related issue, of course, is housing. Lots of low-paying jobs in my neighbourhood not so far from Union Square as clerks or waiters are unfilled because the $5.50 per day they would have to take from their meager wages, and the hour or longer commute, is too hard to take. And yet there are grocery store clerks and busboys here I know who are in fact getting up very early in the morning to commute from very far away. The housing in this area, even with many low-come buildings, is still too high rent for people at this level of wages. I don’t know if all this means that we will see more company towns where companies control housing and stores with the help of robots and automation…

  24. LaMarEstaba

    I am definitely pro-better immigration policies, but I also agree with many of the comments which state that the issue lies in how American workers are treated and compensated.