On-shoring Unemployment

Ken Gorrellby Ken Gorrell,
Weirs Times Contributing Writer

Remember the last presidential election cycle when the Left wailed about the scourge of “offshoring” jobs? How times change.
In June of 2012, the uber-Progressive news site ThinkProgress trumpeted a Washington Post story “that Bain Capital, the private equity firm Mitt Romney headed for 15 years, invested extensively in companies that moved jobs overseas to low-wage countries like China. The practice contradicts the rhetoric of candidate Romney, who since announcing his presidential ambitions, has criticized government policies that have led to jobs, particularly those in manufacturing, moving offshore.”
Never mind that lowering production costs is something businesses always strive to do, or that businesses with lower cost structures are often good investments for people seeking solid returns on their retirement funds. The Left blamed Romney for enabling the move of “American” jobs to other countries.
Four years later, the Left is criticizing Donald Trump for his hard-line on illegal immigration, dismissing his claims that illegals are taking jobs away from Americans. They are even calling for the Obama Administration to end its very tepid deportation actions aimed at employers of illegal aliens. Progressives don’t want American jobs going to foreign lands, but seem fine with foreign workers taking jobs from Americans here at home.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) jobs report for June was heralded as good news for the economy. But what did that report show? The government reported that 287,000 jobs were added last month, but digging deeper we see that the gain predominantly benefited foreign-born workers. (The data does not distinguish between legal and illegal immigrants.) The number of native-born Americans with jobs actually declined by 179,000 in June.
The fact is that foreign-born workers currently have a lower unemployment rate and a higher labor force participation rate than native-born workers. It seems that through our immigration policies we are on-shoring unemployment for the native born.
The BLS report also showed that more than half of the new jobs were in lower-wage sectors such as leisure and hospitality, health care, social services, and information services. Not surprisingly, these jobs are attractive to immigrants, both legal and illegal, who generally have lower skills. But many of these are also the “entry-level” jobs young Americans seek, placing them in competition with immigrants. And it gets worse.
The widely-reported unemployment rate of 4.9% represents “Total unemployed, as a percent of the civilian labor force”. That number doesn’t include Americans who have given up looking for full-time employment. If we count them, the unemployment rate nearly doubles, to 9.6%. This is the BLS’s so-called “U-6” number, defined as “Total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force.” Sound like anyone you know? Why don’t they count?
Despite claims to the contrary, foreign-born workers — many of whom are in our country illegally — are displacing Americans who want to work. In 2008, federal agents raided Howard Industries in Mississippi, detaining nearly 600 illegal aliens who had been working there. The next morning local citizens lined up for the opportunity to work at the company. In 2012, Howard Industries paid a $2.5 million fine and created a $1.3 million fund to settle claims from as many as 5,000 non-Hispanic job applicants (many of them black) who had been denied employment in favor of illegals.
Just last month, in the “latest effort by ICE to arrest and remove convicted criminal aliens,” the Feds detained 331 men, all with prior convictions including “burglary, domestic violence, sex crimes, and driving while under the influence”. Naturally, groups supporting illegal aliens expressed outrage. One man complained that “ICE arrested the son-in-law of one of our members, and the only offense on his record is a 10-year-old conviction for working with a made-up Social Security Number”. One assumes that this illegal was still working with a fake SSN, or making a living through some other nefarious means. Illegal aliens acting illegally, taking jobs from Americans — with the approval and support of the Left.
At the same time, Leftists are also pushing for significant increases in the minimum wage. We know what that means: Companies will accelerate the ongoing replacement of low-skilled workers with capital equipment. From ordering kiosks and automated cooking equipment in fast-food restaurants, to computerized warehousing systems, to the amazing AGROBOT automated strawberry harvester, entry-level and low-skilled workers will be replaced by machines or otherwise priced out of jobs.
Advocating for increased immigration, actively advancing the interests of illegal aliens, and raising the price of labor: The Left seems Hell-bent on hurting the American worker.

Ken can be reached at kengorrell@gmail.com