2009 July 04 Saturday
Americans Competing For Farm Jobs

A story from Colorado reports on how people with graduate degrees are applying to work at farm jobs. Another hit to the "jobs Americans won't do" myth:

Farmers can use what's called the H-2A program to recruit foreign workers to do temporary or seasonal work here in the U.S.

From July to September of 2008, there were 171 H2-A jobs posted. Thirty-nine Americans applied for those positions.

The very next quarter, in the final three months of 2008, 887 Americans applied for the 981 H-2A available. And as unemployment jumped at the beginning of 2009, so did applications from Americans; 1,799 applied for 726 jobs. That means instead of the jobs being filled by foreign or migrant workers, they are mostly going to U.S. residents.

We are going to see a lot more of this. The least educated Americans already have an unemployment rate that is at Great Depression levels.

The blue-collar sector has been hit especially hard. Some 31 million native-born and immigrant workers with a high-school degree or less are now jobless. Unemployment in this category is now a record 14.7 percent for immigrants and 19.5 percent for natives.

Why are so many Americans willing to go back to the farm? Why do they want to take jobs away from illegal aliens? Recent job losses are higher than forecast. Unemployment exceeds the worst case used in the Fed's bank stress test. If this keeps up (and it probably will) then mortgage defaults and other loan defaults will be worse and big banks will teeter once again. The employment-population ratio and weekly hours are tanking.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2009 July 04 08:13 PM  Immigration Labor Market

Aki_Izayoi said at July 5, 2009 9:54 PM:

I wonder if Barack Obama would create large make-work programs for the unemployed. Well, in the great depression, it at least gave the Democratic Party generational support and a lot of voters since many people remembered how those programs provided them with something to do and income. I do not know any other way to deal with unemployment besides make-work jobs and other schemes such as early retirement and encouraging people to go on "sick leave." Despite this, even if one counts all those people as unemployed in Sweden, the US makes it up by having a large U6 rate, and counting the people in prison.

Too bad for the US unemployed that the government is not providing "labor market political activities" as they do in Sweden and Denmark.

You changed your blog since the captcha is different now.

Randall Parker said at July 5, 2009 10:15 PM:


You must suffer daily with your unrequited love to live in a Scandinavian social welfare state.

Captcha: Yes, just did a major upgrade. Still trying to get out the bugs.

Aki_Izayoi said at July 7, 2009 6:03 AM:

Do you want to do a post mocking libertarians who do not understand human nature? Most people including myself do not value liberty over other things.

Majority of Eastern Germans Feel Life Better under Communism


I also found this from another forum:

Now this Polish woman had immigrated to Canada as an anti-Communist dissident and clearly had no ideological affinity whatsoever with Marxist-Leninism. She was someone with "bourgeois taste" and certainly valued the individualism of the West.

Still on certain matters she talked about how many aspect of the life she knew under "Communist Poland" made life considerably more simple and definitely less stressful. She talked about how shocked she was as at the ruthlessness of life in capitalist Canada - which is obviously less ruthless than life in capitalist America.

The most negative she saw in the capitalist North American model was just how stressful and competitive working for a living was under North American capitalism. Recalling her parents getting ready to go for work in the morning, Katrina commented that in all the time she was growing up as a child and a teenager, she never once heard them complain about fighting at work and the pressure they were under to perform. They always talked as if work was actually a lot of fun

Her husband, Jacek once added that all the time they were living under Communist rule, they were constantly afraid of informants turning them in to authorities. But in spite of all the fear of informants, it rarely ever actually happened. But when they started working in Canada, they discovered that work life under their capitalist employer was constantly filled with "tattle tales" running to the boss and reporting mild infractions and reporting back to managers private comments made by their fellow employees. It occurred to him then that informants in capitalist North America were in fact far, more common than under the system they had left behind. They both commented that anyone who told on a fellow employee back in the old system in Poland would have been completely ostracized, while in North America, that type tends to get promoted.

I asked Katrina "what was the worse aspect about life under "Communist Poland"? She said that there really was a scarcity of food, not to malnutrition levels, but life could be quite austere and they really had to manage their basic commodities with frugality even with both of her parents working full time as consultant physicians. She also added that the crime rate was much worse than what was being reported. The austerity definitely did lead many to commit thievery and corruption. She also complained that with the extremely relaxed work environments did lead to a situations of tremendous incompetence and out and out laziness. There was alway far more people than needed and many seemed to do very little work at all. Nothing seemed to go as planned.

I asked her about what was the best part of the life under the "Communist system" as she knew it. She said that everyone enjoyed a relatively stress free work environment with guaranteed employment. Katrina also added there was relative equality. A doctor would have somewhat more than a factory worker, but not to the levels one finds in North America. Even a low level factory worker could and would attend the Opera, send their kids to camp for the summer, have education available according to their performance in school and exams and have more or less the same basic level of health care as a doctor. And there was little sense of economic uncertainty and insecurity - and certainly no fear of losing their job.

I finally asked Katrina at one point which system did she think was better, capitalist America or "Communist Poland"? She paused long and hard and then answered, capitalist America. She appreciated the individual freedom and ability to make any political comment she wanted without fear of repercussions, which was highly restricted under the old system in Poland. But it was clear that the her answer was not a "slam dunk". She most definitely thought life was less stressful and in many ways more pleasant under the old Eastern European model. But North American capitalism did offer other advantages including the ability to say openly any political opinion they want without fear of arrest


So do you have any better ideas on dealing with the dummies. At least East Germany got it right on the mark... they staff too many workers in workplaces and many just hang around doing nothing (because they were too many people and no work to do) . Well, at least they are doing nothing and not harming anyone. Keep them out of positions where they would harm people. Why do people like economic efficieny so much when we need to embrace inefficient measures to deal with this!!!??

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