Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Shortages of Labor in California

August 20, 2012 CNBC is reporting that California agribusiness is whining about shortages of illegal aliens to work the fields--but they do seem to be learning how to solve that shortage:

"We have 100 fewer people this year," said Sergio Diaz, who provides workers under contract for growers. "We're having difficulty finding people to do this work."
The lack of workers is forcing farmers to pay more. In one of Underwood's fields, pickers are harvesting peppers for $9.25 a hour, or $5 a bucket, whichever is more. Craig Underwood said his workforce is aging and starting to retire, and no one is coming in to replace them....
When asked if any local residents have come out to apply to work in the fields, Craig Underwood replied, "None. Absolutely none." He is even having trouble finding truck drivers and other semi-skilled labor for jobs that pay $12-$18 an hour.
Now, this is in California's Central Valley, where the cost of living is nothing like San Francisco or Los Angeles.  A rate of $9.25 per hour isn't great, but if you are a teenager, that's about what you would expect to make at McDonald's.  Or perhaps you have recently received a graduate degree in philosophy, or puppetry, or transgendered cultural studies.

And if employers can't find semi-skilled labor at $12-$18 per hour, that tells me that there is no unemployment problem there anymore.   Right?  Or am I missing something?


  1. There never has been an unemployment problem, just a diminution in the wage scale such that many decide not to work and collect money for free instead. If all of the give-away money (obtained by legalized robbery in the form of unemployment, food stamps, etc) was stopped, hunger would stimulate some to rethink their sloth.

    I went to college and worked two min. wage jobs at the same time, and using my veteran benefits (an "earned" item, not a give-away), while married with a newborn.

    Tough? Yes. So what.

    We have been spoiled by luxury and largess (I admit that I like it), and the new group coming up has only seen easy street and will not travel on any other.

  2. It always was a problem in Modesto. Nobody wants to work the fields, because it's too hard. It's much more pleasant to lounge in your trailer and do cocaine between the transfer payment cheques.