WELCOME To The NEW NORMAL: High Unemployment and Labor Shortages

Written by Candace Hardin on September 22, 2016

Many employers in the North Georgia Mountain areas complain that they cannot find enough people to work for them. These employers are grocery stores, banks, restaurants, retail establishment etc.

One might argue that these are service positions, minimum wage pay at best, but even the gambling casinos in the area struggle with the same problem. They pay superior wages, but often applicants cannot pass the initial drug test.

Why is it so difficult to obtain responsible workers in society?

If lack of work is factored out of the equation, what then is the cause?

A study published in 2014 compared 18 to 35 years from 1980 to the same age group in 2009 to 2013.

Even though the population of this age group has gone down seven percent since 1980, more are living in poverty and have lower rates of employment than their counterparts in 1980. Today, 65% of young adults are employed, compared to 69 percent in 1980, and one in five live in poverty compared to one in seven in 1980.

If available jobs are not the problem, why is there a shortage of quality workers?

Could it be that the increase of education in the 18 to 35-year-old category makes them reluctant to take any kind of job if it is not in their career field. Twenty two percent of today’s 18 to 35 year olds have an advanced degree compared to sixteen percent of previous generations. Three in ten have ever been married, down from six in ten in previous generations.

Without familiar pressure to perform and support, there is no need to exert. The concept goes with those in the same category who are parents. The government gives them financial support, so it is easier to be dependent than work for the same amount of money.

A report by the National Employment Law Project and reported by the New York Times states that the majority of all jobs created in the last eight years were low paying jobs. Effectively, low paying jobs have replaced high paying jobs.

That is scary. What is even scarier is that many blue collar and white collar jobs are disappearing at an increasing rate as robots and other automation systems take them over.

Can a world without work be imagined?

It is highly possible, so what is the solution?

In the above mentioned link, a theory by noted economist Charles Murray would allow every citizen over 21 to a $ 13,000.00 a year salary, less $ 3,000.00 annually for health insurance. This amount would replace any and all social welfare programs. People could earn up to $ 30,000.00 a year without penalty, but would lose some of the assistance if they earned over $60,000.00.

The idea has its drawbacks, of course, like where would the 400,000 social service government employees find work? Would it take the incentive to work away from recipients, create a mentality to just get by on the stipend and create a world of idle hands, which have always been touted as the devil’s workshop?

The burning question is where would this money come from if the majority of work was eliminated?

It could be taxed, but a deficit would roll over every year until there was nothing left to pay out.

Employers would have to be federally mandated to pay wages in an equal way in order for anyone to earn more annually, as some corporations and others, as has been seen in this Great Recession, tend to take advantage of workers where they can.

Everyone knows you get what you pay for, but will automation be worth the investment. Can AI outstrip human ingenuity? A machine cannot think outside the realm of its programming, a human can.

As society careens on this roller coaster of change and advancement, what will be the final outcome? How will civilization survive the radical adjustment?

All good questions, and hopefully some answers will be available, whether the workforce is ready or not.

photo credit: by Michael Carlan; Hlpwntd via photopin (license)

Share if you agree there are answers needed for this employment problem.

Candace Hardin
Candace Hardin resides in Atlanta, Georgia. She is fluent in Spanish and a student of Latin and history. She is a columnist on PolitiChicks.tv. and has a blog, kandisays.blogspot.com. Originally from North Carolina, her writing and beliefs have been heavily influenced by the Appalachian culture and tradition.