A tight labor market is causing a labor conundrum.
Trump wants businesses to hire American. The trouble is they can’t, because most Americans are already working.
Record low unemployment rates are causing a tight labor market. Last month, 14 states reported an increase in hiring with two states even reporting all-time unemployment lows. The Department of Labor reported that in 10 states unemployment fell, 38 states held steady, and only 2 states saw a rise in unemployment. Half of US states have less than 4 percent unemployment.
While the unemployment news and tight labor market is good for American workers, it may present challenges for American businesses.
Businesses are going to have to work harder to compete for scarce workers. Salaries may need to rise to attract and retain workers. As people job hop, attracted to dangling carrots employers will likely provide, the cost of recruiting and training new hires will spike. Seasonal, summer and low paying jobs are going to be even more difficult to fill.
But even if salaries rise, that does not address the need for more workers; it simply pays existing workers more.
So if there are simply not enough people to fill jobs all across America, what’s to be done?
Americans are working and that is the goal. But when there is no supply and a huge demand for more people, programs that allow temporary nonimmigrant visas are going to be essential to keep many American businesses running.
When the number of H-2B visas, that allow foreign workers to work in temporary jobs were capped, businesses all over the country were brought to their knees. Backlash and pleas from state governments, businesses and communities forced more visas to be issued this month, but a longer-term solution is needed.
Further reductions proposed under the America First Policy is not the solution. Advocates are looking to reduce the Summer Work Travel visa that bring foreign students and income into the US. Communities and businesses rely on the additional help during peak time of business and they can’t often hire American even without the additional pressures of a tight labor market. In many US towns, local labor can’t sustain a great many summer and seasonal businesses.
We’re all for hiring American. And we’re all for American prosperity and a booming economy, which is why we’re all for continuing to support programs that bring innovative staffing solutions, along with and the often overlooked benefits of cultural exchange programs like the Summer Work Travel Program.