North Dakota Needs People
My company has a location in North Dakota. There is a lot of work to do there. Several employees quit, plus a few got fired. So they invited us to go there temporarily with significant extra pay as an incentive. I volunteered.
I'm a truck driver so I spend most of my day trying to stay alert, drinking Bang and listening to the radio. In North Dakota, every other commercial on the radio is a company advertising their job fair to try to hire more workers.
Everywhere Needs People
I live in Wyoming and it's not as bad here, but still every business has a help wanted sign it seems. Often businesses will apologetically inform their customers that they cannot be serviced in a timely manner because the business just doesn't have enough workers at the moment. Many gas stations that were 24 hour are now closing at night. They say they are closing because they can't get anyone willing to work the night shift. There is absolutely no excuse to be unemployed right now. BUT...
Nobody Seems To Be Paying Much More
Inflation is running rampant. I'm making more than I've made in recent years, but I'm still broker than normal. Groceries are absolutely sky high. The government claims inflation is around 7% or so. But people who tell the truth, (not government people) claim that inflation is closer to 20%. From my anecdotal experience I'd say it's closer to 20%.
So if you made $100,000 last year, you need to make $120,000 next year just to be at the same level materially.
If all these businesses are so pitifully desperate for workers, why aren't they raising their wages? Most are. They are raising them ever so slightly though. A position that paid $15/hr a few years ago, pays $18/hr now, but with the inflation, in real terms, that job pays even less now in this great labor shortage than it did a few years ago.
I know that small mom & pops are subject to economic realities and can only afford to pay so much. However there are a ton of big corporate jobs that are still only paying peanuts even though they brag about record profits every year. They just keep whining about not being able to hire enough people at their low wage rates, while I start to wonder if the Marxists are as wrong as I've always thought they were. Maybe the Marxists have a point?
I Think It's Going To Get Worse
As I look around at my co-workers and workers for other business, I can't help but notice something. A lot of the people out working right now are old. Really old. I see a few folks in their 70's still working, lots of people in their 50's and 60's, lots of people in their 40's, but not so many 20 and 30 year olds.
There's A Bunch Of Workers About To Retire
Most of those 60 and 70 year olds are going to either retire or drop dead in the next few years. (Especially the ones who faithfully line up for Covid boosters!) In less than 10 years many of those currently in their 50's will be leaving the labor force. What do we do then?
The Robots Aren't Ready Yet
I know a lot of people think all the jobs are going to be automated away. I have doubts. As a truck driver, I've been hearing for 15 years that robots were going to take my job in 5 years or less. I believe the robots will take over trucking at some point, but that ain't happening for AT LEAST another 10 years.
Are companies going to start paying wages that keep up with inflation? Or are they going to just keep telling their customers they can't get service because nobody is willing to work for $20/hr when a loaf of bread costs $50.
"These kids just don't want to work these days." - Average Boomer, 2022