Do Americans really want to work (or why immigrants are needed)?
This article from the New York times begins with this question—how can there be a labor shortage when nearly one out of every 11 people is unemployed? From all accounts I’m reading, employers running ads are swamped with resumes and inquiries and one would think that any honest job would get the same response and upon being fortunate to land one, someone wouldn’t just up and quit after a mere six hours on the job. Well, the guy pictured above thought the same thing and nearly lost his shirt trying to hire locals, rather than Mexicans, to work on his farm at $ 10.50 an hour. Here’s what he had to say:
“It didn’t take me six hours to realize I’d made a heck of a mistake,” Mr. Harold said, standing in his onion field on a recent afternoon as a crew of workers from Mexico cut the tops off yellow onions and bagged them.
Six hours was enough, between the 6 a.m. start time and noon lunch break, for the first wave of local workers to quit. Some simply never came back and gave no reason. Twenty-five of them said specifically, according to farm records, that the work was too hard. On the Harold farm, pickers walk the rows alongside a huge harvest vehicle called a mule train, plucking ears of corn and handing them up to workers on the mule who box them and lift the crates, each weighing 45 to 50 pounds.
After that, the guy had to scurry to hire more Mexicans under a special temporary work visa program to salvage his harvest. Undoubtedly, this dynamic is repeated throughout the agricultural industry, construction and where ever else hard laborious work is required. Americans can no longer handle this sort of work and have gotten soft. The general feeling is that they wanted to get paid, but not do much for it.
If you go out a survey any small business person, they will tell you that the biggest headache is hiring and retaining good people. The biggest problem is a sense of entitlement. People feel like they should get paid even if they produce nothing beneficial. It’s this sort of thinking that will make difficult times even worst as it leaves these same people ill suited to do what they need to in order to survive. The Mexican workers, on the other hand, don’t have that issue. Ultimately people or nations rise in the world largely as a function of their productivity. That can only come about from working.
During the last Great Depression, folks headed back to the farm as a safety net. It’s safe to say we won’t see that now. And it should come as no great surprise that many guest workers decide to over stay their VISAs and pursue other work that Americans find too hard to do. That’s as logical and rational as the decision the farmer makes in hiring them rather than Americans.