Postcards from the great American labor shortage: A couple arrives at the Seattle airport after a 5-hour flight and stands in line at the car rental desk. It quickly becomes clear that something is wrong. The line snakes through the garage. People are angry. At the desk sits a harassed employee explaining that while, yes, he understands that people had made these reservations months in advance, he simply has no cars of any kind to rent. Nothing. Why? There aren’t enough employees on hand to vacuum, wash, fuel, and process the cars.
Another snapshot. A couple has been driving for several hours and requires a bathroom stop. They pull into a Burger King. The doors are locked. The only service is at the drive through. Why? Lack of employees.
Perhaps you’ve stayed in a hotel recently? Maid service and room service are scarce. If hotels offer these services at all, they are available only upon request. About 25 percent of restaurant and hotel employees are immigrants. What could be going on here?
It’s not just entry level jobs that are going unfilled. Politico reports that hospitals in 40 states have reported critical staffing shortages—orderlies and janitors, yes, but also nurses, doctors, and medical technicians. One in five nurses and one in four health aides are foreign born. Twenty-eight percent of physicians are immigrants.
Mona Charen, The Bulwark, August 3, 2022
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