In case you thought that my rant at the educational system was the worst you’d see about what faces the new generations — and frankly has been going on since I was a young kid, but it’s worsened significantly — you were kind of wrong.
The working situation is completely broken as well. Not just for kids, but for them it must seem bizarre.
Recently at one of my groups, someone asked if anyone had ever had a job where they weren’t either cheated on money or time…. The silence was deafening, except for one whose main work experience was abroad.
Work is broken too. Not just at the lowest “entry” levels, but all the way up. We’ll get into how and some ideas into why, both cultural and economic. BUT the main thing we’re going to examine here over the next few posts is “Why are people not working?” or rather “What’s with all the help wanted signs since the covidiocy?”
I know, yes, the standard, routine answer on the right. It starts at “They are paid for not working” and if you hear that in the voice of an old man yelling at clouds, you’d be absolutely right. Partly because it’s the easiest and most stupid of answers. (These two are often combined.)
My friend Tom Knighton over at Tilting at Windmills has done an article on the ridiculous levels of welfare benefits in some states, and he’s not precisely wrong. Though what you should take from that is not “Wow, people choose to be on welfare rather than work” but rather marvel at the number of people who will break themselves in two in sh*tty jobs rather than go on welfare.
As I said, one of the most heartwarming things in 2016 is that Trump was running on bringing back jobs so people could work, while Hilary was running on “We’ll pay you to say home and exist and people voted for Trump in overwhelming enough numbers to overcome pre-planned fraud.
I’m not saying the welfare state isn’t crazy, or that the temptations not to work and just be paid for existing aren’t there.
No. My point is WHAT HAS CHANGED SINCE THE COVIDIOCY?
And if you’re going to yell at the clouds that “Well, they were giving money for staying home” you’re not particularly well informed on the particulars. Yes, a ton of money was handed out, a lot of it, of course, embezzled or otherwise misdirected, because well, it’s a government project.
BUT individually people didn’t even get enough to keep them comfortably through the lockdowns, much less all the way to now. Yeah, people have benefited from “Student loan payment suspension” but the only ones who could take that and not work were probably already not working.
Trust me on this, I know a lot of people in service industries, who were locked out of work, and who were scrambling — often finding other (sometimes better) jobs — during lockdown, because it didn’t cover even partial expenses.
And not all states froze rents, etc. But the “Worker dearth” is nation wide.
So, what is going on?
Well, part of it is something none of us can understand. Yes, we have talked about want ads for show only because they hope to hire foreigners.
But why would restaurants and grocery stores have signs saying help wanted, and you drop off an application and never hear from them again?
No one seems to know. Mind you, going in and dropping off an application gets you better results than applying via website or chain-website, and that might be HR or simply “bot” issues. But even dropping in an application, and even for the older set, around my age, who no, are not going in drunk or dressed weirdly (I’m anticipating the easy excuse, see) the rate of response is nowhere near what you would expect from all the visible “We need help right now” signs.
Oh, and before you mention people who work retail or food service a few days then quit without collecting a pay check: I have bad news for you. That was going on when I worked retail in 86/87. Sometimes people worked two weeks, then never showed up to collect a pay check. I never understood it, and still don’t. Even if the amounts at the time were ridiculously low (I think I made something like $80 a week, on a good week with lots of hours) it was money I’d earned, and if it were me, I’d go back for the paycheck. But hey.
And I have no idea. I can’t explain it. It has occurred to me that since business is also down (the recession, but also the fact that probably a bunch of people learned to cook in lockdown) this is an excuse to limit the number of tables and/or days one is open and therefore save some money. “Downsize without appearing to” in other words. I don’t know. But it’s possible. At least for restaurants. No clue as to stores.
The other part is that I think — and there have been articles hinting at it, mostly from the irate “erasing gains” perspective, then they go suddenly quiet — a lot of women have quit work to go home. Particularly mothers, tired of the school nonsense. (And that’s another thing, as there seem to be more people homeschooling than official figures account for. Which considering that schools get paid per capita. Well…)
But the thing to remember is that many young or newly wed women work in the service industry, particularly retail, so I’d expect that sector to be hardest hit by female defection. Which seems to be true, at least apparently.
I don’t know if other young-female fields are equally affected, because I have no insight into administrative and clerical jobs of various kinds.
Though I’d expect a lot of people in offices to have decided they’re not going back to in-person work, too, and have either found other jobs or simply figured out how to consolidate to a single salary per family. Not to mention, and there were any number, the young singles who moved back in with mom and dad, because of the lockdown, and who now are reconsidering their life path/training for other jobs. I know any number in that situation as well. And that affects both males and females.
The thing is that there has been a wild dislocation caused by the lockdowns. The left thought it would accelerate some sort of “paid for existing” thing in which people would just love to be locked and fed through a straw for the rest of their lives.
Because they really don’t understand humans, to the point we sometimes wonder if they’ve ever met any.
Instead, they have precipitated several situations they find distasteful: parents deciding to raise their own kids; various workers deciding they prefer working from home/moving away from the big cities; women deciding that they are paying for working fairly menial jobs and would rather not, and “female advancement” be shafted. Etc.
In fact, people took the lockdowns and the fall out and used it for greater liberty and personal choices, which as usual has baffled our would-be rulers.
But there seems to be something else going on, and for that we’re going to have to dive into what the heck is going on with working life, and why everything is broken there too.
We’ll do that tomorrow and the next couple of days (I’ll probably do something different on New Years, because.)
For now “Are there too few workers or too few jobs?” seems to be best answered with “yes” and it’s not all a mismatch either.