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The Job Market Black Hole
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February 07, 2015, 11:50 AM
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In my February 6th column I quoted the blogger at Zero Hedge on the dire state of the white-collar labor market.  [Fired Before Hired: How Corporations Rigged The Job Market And Killed The American Dream, by Daniel Drew, Zero Hedge, January 28, 2015.]

This drew an email from a reader in SW Virginia, quoted here with permission, slightly edited.

Mr. Derbyshire:

When I read your most recent gift to VDARE, it was déjà vu all over again, as the old saying goes. I … have done a lot of volunteer work the last 10 years after retiring from a career in IT. I am clearly with you and VDARE on the immigration issue, but my email deals mainly with how hard it is to get a not-very-glamorous office job.

I was occasionally asked to help enter job applications into the HR system of a local government when they were exceedingly numerous and the deadline was near. For a pretty good office job, we could get over 100 applications, all pretty much local people, most fairly young. My experience in entering these applications mirrored those of Eric Auld [i.e. in the Zero Hedge piece]: I’d see numerous applications from MA’s or BA’s for a job paying a bit over $8 an hour to shelve books in the local library. Educational requirements rarely exceeded HS and were so stated in the ad for the job.

I did this work out in an open area where I was accessible to anybody who came along so I often got a question about the applications. The run-away favorite from hopeful applicants was this: How many applications do you have for this job? The more I had, the lower their faces fell.

My experiences have led me to 3 conclusions:

  • There are a lot more workers who would happily take jobs that don’t pay a lot of money if they could get them. These folks make up a lot of our unemployed who don’t show up in the unemployment rate.
  • People with college degrees are making it almost impossible for people without such degrees to find decent white collar work because the college grads can’t find work in better paying jobs that require degrees and so apply for those jobs that don’t. Given a choice, most employers will take a chance on the college grad over the HS grad unless the HS grad has something else going for him/her like years of experience in a similar job.
  • Do not tell me that adding the massive number of immigrants—legal & illegal—to the US over the last couple of decades isn’t adding to the decline in the number of working-age people who are actually working and depressing wages for those who are. I am not stupid.
Imagine what all of those DREAMers getting work permits will do to this situation. Not only will they add to the number of applicants for such jobs now that they can work legally but they will qualify for affirmative action, giving them a further leg up on native applicants. Sweet!