After September’s Dismal BLS Report, Looking Ahead

For the second consecutive month, Wall Street analysts and media business forecasters badly missed the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s job creation total. Dow Jones projected 500,000 new jobs for September, a greater than 300,000 misfire after the true BLS number came in at 194,000. Television commentators were aghast at their second straight BLS whiff. August’s expected jobs creation total was predicted to be 720,000, which turned out to be a more inaccurate forecast than September’s when the so-called experts were off the mark by 485,000 jobs. In August, the economy created a mere 235,000 jobs.

No surprise that COVID-19 took the brunt of the blame for the steep declines, particularly among workers in education and local/state employment, but also among bus drivers, food service workers and substitute teachers. Another variable that added to the dismal September results was the disappearance from the labor force of many older, low-wage workers still fearful about COVID-19 and its Delta variant. A historic 11 million jobs are open and available. As far as the economy and job creation are concerned, the U.S. is still in COVID-19’s grasp.

“We’re hiring” signs are everywhere, yet few workers have stepped up to fill the jobs. Although openings are at or near an all-time record, one hurdle to attracting employees is that many of the positions require in-person work for construction, hospitality, delivery services or warehousing, the exact types of jobs too many Americans shun in the current environment. Thanks to the pandemic fear the government and scare-mongering media have instilled in the general public, potential workers stay away from close-contact employment. Consequently, most job seekers are hopeful of finding mostly unavailable remote work. A recent review of the ZipRecruiter website found that only one in 10 postings offered remote employment.

When workers are in short supply, the clarion call for more immigration inevitably follows. Bill Kristol, for example, once a conservative, now a Democrat, and always an immigration advocate, put out a tweet which proclaimed that immigration could solve the economy’s employment doldrums. Kristol wrote: “We can debate infrastructure, tax policy, government spending, etc. But it’s not a close call as to the one thing that would do the most for our economy across the board: More immigration. Both ‘skilled’ and ‘unskilled.’ Which the Administration and Congress have done nothing on.”

Well – not exactly nothing. Kristol must not be paying attention to the immigration news. Encouraging illegal immigration, bringing Afghan evacuees to the U.S. and raising the refugee cap are definitely something. Soon the U.S. will have a worker surplus. The 15,000 Haitians who surged the border, the 50,000 or more Afghanistan evacuees and the 125,000 refugees that Biden has committed to for fiscal 2021-22, and the 2 million released-at-the-border illegal aliens will inevitably receive employment authorization. Also on their way to compete for jobs in the U.S. labor pool are the annual 1 million-plus legal immigrants who, as part of their permanent residency, receive lifetime valid work permits. Finally, add about 700,000 guest workers that traditionally enter the U.S. to perform jobs which range from medical doctors to agriculture-based employees.

The approximately 1 million legal and 2 million illegal immigrants, the evacuees, the refugees and the guest workers will go a long way to making Kristol and the immigration lobby’s dreams come true. And if Congress passes the reconciliation bill that it’s kicking around, about 8 million more aliens will be granted amnesty, receive legal status and work permits. COVID-19 restrictions could impact the foreign-born arrivals, but illegal immigrant amnesty candidates already represent several million work permits.

High immigration and the lower wages immigrants earn harm those that can least withstand economic setbacks – American blacks and Hispanics, other minorities, the disabled, recently arrived low-skilled legal immigrants and others without a college degree. More immigration, regardless of how much it may hurt Americans who fund it, is the blueprint that the Biden administration has, to the disappointment of most, chosen to follow, and is committed to.