The Weird Phenomenon of “Labor Shortages” as Millions of People Who Could Work Are Not Working

A sign of how messed up the moving parts of the economy have become, amid massive excesses and distortions connected by malfunctioning gearing.

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

In an interview a few days ago that aired locally, the owner of an Italian restaurant in San Francisco – the restaurant scene is now vibrant in a different way than before – put her struggles with hiring on the table. The kitchen staff had come back, she said, but she had trouble hiring back the staff for the front of the restaurant, the wait staff, who are normally fairly well paid via tips.

She said that many of these people have other dreams. They were artists or writers or students or entrepreneurs, or whatever, and waiting tables wasn’t their career, it was just a way to make ends meet. And many of them had moved on during the pandemic or were using their unemployment benefits to push their dreams forward, rather than returning to restaurant work.

Employment in food services and drinking places rose by 186,000 in May from April, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics today. In the leisure and hospitality industry overall – which also includes hotels and casinos – employment jumped by 292,000 in May, and has been gaining all year as restaurants and hotels reopened, but was still down by 2.5 million people compared to the peak in February 2020.

Every restaurant owner has their own struggles. Pay raises are being implemented to bring people back, including at big chain restaurants. But what the owner of the Italian restaurant said was that for her, hiring waitstaff, who earn substantial tips, was the difficulty; and that her kitchen staff, the hourly employees, were largely back at work. Which makes the whole story a lot more complex.

Then there is manufacturing. The complaints from manufacturers about the difficulties of hiring have been circling for decades, as the industry is requiring ever more sophisticated labor because automation is playing an ever-larger role.

But now, in addition to the difficulties of finding the right kind of labor, manufacturers are deeply tangled up in supply-chain issues and being able to get components, raw materials, and supplies in time, with lead-times blowing out, putting a damper on what they could manufacture, and on the labor they could employ if they got everything they needed.

Every crisis has incentivized manufacturers to cut costs by investing in automation or by offshoring production. Manufacturing employment peaked in the 1970s and has since fallen by about one third.

In May, the number of workers in manufacturing ticked up by only 23,000, after falling by 32,000 in April, and was still 509,000 below where it had been in February 2020:

In 2008, during the Great Recession, employment in manufacturing and employment in the leisure and hospitality industry crossed for the first time, driven by offshoring, automation, and Americans’ love for traveling and eating out. This trend – with exception of the collapse of travel and eating out during the lockdowns – has broadened since then. Note that during the Great Recession, as employment in manufacturing plunged, employment in the leisure and hospitality industry only dipped. This time, it collapsed:

And then there are construction jobs. Construction is booming, especially residential construction – but handicapped by material shortages, spiking prices, and long lead times for some materials, and complaints in residential construction about labor shortages.

So back to the weird phenomenon: Construction employment fell by 20,000 jobs in May, compared to April, and was still 225,000 lower than in February 2020. But it wasn’t evenly spread. The number of people working in building construction rose by 4,900, nearly all of the gains in the segment of residential buildings.

It’s with businesses in heavy and civil engineering construction, where employment fell by 5,500 and with specialty trade contractors, where employment fell by 19,300.

Then there is the so-called retirement boom, which is curious but makes sense on a conceptual basis: At least 1.7 million more workers than expected retired due to the pandemic, according to the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis. These are people who are sitting on their stock market gains or crypto gains or housing gains, and they’ve got enough, and they lost their jobs or quit their jobs, or they closed their businesses and medical practices, and they don’t feel like returning to work, and they’re not looking for a job.

This is another element in the weird phenomenon of complaints about labor shortages while millions of people are not working who might otherwise be working. These early retirees are no longer in the labor force.

The labor force fell in May by 53,000 people. The labor force consists of people who were working during the survey period or who actively looked for a job in the prior four weeks.

People such as the 1.7 million who may have retired that otherwise wouldn’t have retired, who wish to rest on their laurels, they’re no longer in the labor force. People who took off to take care of their kids as schools were closed and are not looking for a job because they don’t have time for a job – they’re not in the labor force either.

There were roughly 6.6 million people in May who want a job in general terms but who didn’t look for a job over the past four weeks for whatever reason, and who were therefore not included in the labor force, according to the BLS. This was roughly unchanged from April but was still 1.6 million people higher than in February 2020.

So there are millions of people on the sidelines of the labor market, and the labor force remains 3.5 million people lower than it had been in February 2020.

When there is talk about “labor shortages” it is grounded in this phenomenon that there are plenty of people and potential workers, and there is no shortage of people, but for myriad reasons, companies have trouble bringing these people back in.

Hiking wages and improving benefits would, and does, solve some of those issues, and this is happening. But that’s not the only factor, and the reasons are complex, and the way back to old normal is likely impossible.

Employers of all types – companies, governments, and nonprofits – reported that they added 559,000 workers to their payrolls in May, according to the BLS. The total number of jobs at these establishments, at 144.9 million, was still down by 7.6 million from February 2020 (green line).

Households reported that 444,000 more people were working in May than in April, including self-employed workers, bringing the total number of workers to 151.6 million, still down by 7.1 million from February 2020 (red line):

It is a strange phenomenon, hearing complaints about “labor shortages” even as millions of people who could work are not working. It’s a sign of just how messed up the moving parts of the economy have now become, with massive excesses and distortions in some parts, connected by malfunctioning gearing.

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  431 comments for “The Weird Phenomenon of “Labor Shortages” as Millions of People Who Could Work Are Not Working

  1. Sea Creature says:

    Hmmm, I will just venture a guess about that San Francisco restaurant if its anything like the part of California I live in:

    Kitchen staff: Illegals, dreamers, other assorted immigrants and non-english speakers who cannot easily find other work so now are back.

    Wait staff: Americans, the “pretty people” who could bring in the nice tips who are now getting the free gov. money, and want to / have moved on to something better.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Sea Creature,

      In San Francisco, everyone is from all over the place, with all kinds of accents, from Texan to Bangladeshi accents, including at the front end of restaurants and including in our household. Some of these people are very pretty, such as my wife, and some are just weathered scrawny people, such as me.

    • K says:

      I do understand why many people in jobs that do not pay them a wage that enables them to support themselves or their families would not be eager to return to their mouse-treadmill like lives working hard to never reach any of their goals, while they get more and more in debt. However, keep in mind that their assets are limited.

      Also, immigration of foreigners into the US, legal and illegal, is also now more frequent. Thus, these labor shortages are transitory (not hyperinflation that I predict is coming, particularly because it is, like a market crash, based on fears.)

      It is true that our fast-food restaurants, which use lots of sugar, salt, and other unhealthy ingredients, and the frozen and other prepared foods available to the majority of Americans, which likewise often have very unhealthy ingredients, are causing health problems that will force the elderly (who would otherwise be forced by their limited finances to work) to retire and live miserably due to their huge health problems. An economy’s prospects are usually estimated based on their demographic percentages. That is why China faces a severe demographic cliff, like Japan’s cliff.

      However, if factors such as bad food policies result in a significant slice of those in the population being able to remain productive workers, that will be very bad for our economy. Immigration may enable the US to remain competitive.

      To those who say that the US cannot build things in the comments, I say that manufacturing in the USA could easily rebound even now, because it still effectively holds an unlimited credit card (the power to print the world’s reserve currency), which only the billionaires who own the “Federal” Reserve are using now. A Bracero-like program could enable foreign workers to fill any low income jobs necessary for us to bring most manufacturing back to the USA.

      This administration is taking positive actions, e.g., re infrastructure. It may yet attempt more effective changes.

      If it realizes that our major problems are of our own making, e.g., by changing the law and discouraging the flow of US capital out of the country, with punitive taxes on the foreign income that has not yet been repatriated by tax avoiding persons, we could bring a huge slice of profitable manufacturing back to the USA by subsidizing it like the CCP. If the USA declines, therefore, it is due to a conscious decision by Americans not to take the steps that can prevent that decline.

      Sadly, too many Americans are foolishly rooting for the collapse of our country for political reasons. They are also focusing on ludicrous nonsense like the apparent UFOs, etc. A US economic collapse will not be reversible once the US dollar ceases to be the world’s reserve currency. Read about Argentina’s experiences.

      • K says:

        Typo: I meant to say, “However, if factors such as bad food policies result in a significant slice of those in the population being UNable to remain productive workers, that will be very bad for our economy. “

    • DougP says:

      Yeah, well, you know, that’s just like, uh, your opinion man.

      • Joe Saba says:

        consider following
        older workers have MORE SKILLS than youngin’s
        many SKILLED workers have lots of time in and assets
        many decided WORKING no longer suited them and have since left work force and now TAKING PENSIONS ~ 5 million 60+
        I could work more but being summer I’ve gone into vacay mode
        so far 2 weeks in May
        3 weeks each for June, July August and likely 3 weeks in Sept
        yep – gotta w o r k 1 week per month

    • Danny says:

      And, there’s a tendency, thanks to the amount of software ordering, to skip tips, or to lowball them.

      Unless you are writing off the meal for business purposes and need a receipt, do everyone a favor and pay for your meal and tip in CASH.

      If needing the receipt, tip the waiter or waitress, 8% on the credit card, the amount the IRS dictates that they make in tips on all food and drink they sell, and withholds for and upon which is collected social security and unemployment.
      Pay the rest of the tip in cash.

      As a former waiter and shit disturber, when paying the bill, I call over the server and tell them what I am doing.
      They love it and if you eat in a place regularly and are known, you will get great service, extras and the appreciation of the staff.
      My motto; F.T.IRS!

      • VintageVNvet says:

        AGREE, like totally D!!
        Just pay the bill with the credit card, and pay the ”gratuity” for good service with CASH,,, as one with several relatives and many friends who have worked ”for eva” in the restaurant biz,,, it is very clear that most if not all food prep and server folks are overworked between WAAYY too much and CRAZY bad,,,
        WE (the family WE ) love to go to first class joints,,, and, as you say, once the servers and other staff know how we tip,, besides at least 20% for good service,,, CASH,, and the largest appropriate bill!!!
        GOOD POINT D,,,
        ( just gotta add for perspective that I really miss the days of the ”Blue Fox” and similar in SF, not to mention similar in other areas of the SF bay area .)

    • Mira says:

      Is it free gov. money though ??
      They do it here in Australia also .. for so many years mainstream media relentlessly & mercilessly perused youth & with ludicrous expectations .. “they do not WANT to work” .. “they should be willing to relocate & even across the country .. away from family & friends” this was unrealistic.
      Dole cues were longer & needed to blame someone .. 200 unemployed persons turned up for one job interview ..
      Having been restaurant staff & even manager myself ..
      And as for restaurant staff .. there is an expectation that you will stay till the last customer leaves .. way beyond the 8 hours & without pay .. as the boss ogles & laments your tips .. & then there is the volatile temperament of the boss who blames EVERY LITTLE THING on the staff .. albeit he/she forgot to perform & takings are down .. what did you do they wonder as they look at you with disgust.
      I worked hospitality as a second job when the kids were young.

      • Mira says:

        Oh, for the temperamental princess who own our restaurants !!

        • Mira says:

          Ask anyone .. you are born with the gift for hospitality ..
          I loved it .. I was good at it .. the customers loved me ..
          I was asked to recommend a wine .. “What if we don’t like it?” ..”In that case I will pay for it” .. never did any guy take advantage.
          A regular customer came in & ordered just one drink & not a bottle of wine .. he had lost at the trots – Moonee Valley Race Course .. I brought him a bottle of wine “My shout” his friends came & joined him .. they had been more fortunate & they ate & drank & enjoyed the evening .. but for that bottle of wine.
          The bosses did not have clue.

  2. Seneca’s Cliff says:

    My father had a framed needlepoint motto on his wall that had been passed down for several generations, it said” Them that works eats.” We are kinda far from that now.

    • Javert Chip says:

      So we tax people who do work to pay people who don’t work more than they earned when they did work…and we pretend to wonder why they aren’t working?

      We’ve gone from (appropriate) compassionate support for people experiencing Covid unemployment to willful ignorance of severely undermining our economy (the best big one in the world).


      • timbers says:

        We also tax those who don’t eat or just barely and give it to them who won’t have to worry where their next meal comes from if they live a million lifetimes. Now THAT’S sweet.

        • Pea Sea says:

          And that latter group doesn’t do any work either, unless you count sailing yachts as working. Yet somehow they eat. Does anyone’s grandpappy have a pithy needlepoint motto on their wall to explain that?

        • Trailer Trash says:

          “pithy needlepoint motto”

          Poor people who don’t work are called Lazy.
          Rich people who don’t work are called Boss.

        • Joe Saba says:

          got another 170,000 free loaders last month
          ICE gave them bus tickets, hotel rooms, EBT, free HEALTHCARE, etc.

        • Javert Chip says:


          Yup, most everybody pays stare sales tax.

          However, lower 50% of US wage earners only pay 3% of total US Fed income tax (top 1%, who earn 20% of income, pay 40% of total Fed income tax).

          That’s a huge number of people wanting goodies who pay little or nothing into the system.

        • NBay says:


          Agree 100%.

          Tax payments should resemble a bell shaped curve like most everything else.

          We should look into why we don’t have one immediately, yes?

        • timbers says:

          Javert  Chip,

          The top 1% earn 20% of income, but not capital gains nor Fed wealth creation in the trillion via QE, ZIRP, etc. Also the top 1% own 40% of all wealth yet you say they pay only 20% of taxes, which is grossly overstated because you only go by income. Additionally, the top 1% receive far more in government spending – “free stuff” – than the low income – which really blows the meaning of your original post out of the water.

          Chip…how much do you suppose have the working poor gotten from the Fed’s $3 trillion balance sheet expansion thrown at Wall Street?  And Chip, how much of those $3 trillion in welfare payments to the top 1% show up as “income”?

          In other words Chip, you’re cherry picking your facts and numbers.

          To highlight your inaccuracies, I will re-post what is noted just below your’s:

          A few notables:Archer Daniels Midland enjoyed $438 million of U.S. pretax income last year and received a federal tax rebate of $164 million.

          FedEx zeroed out its federal income tax on $1.2 billion of U.S. pretax income in 2020 and received a rebate of $230 million.

          Nike didn’t pay a dime of federal income tax on almost $2.9 billion of U.S. pretax income last year, instead enjoying a $109 million tax rebate.

          Dish Network paid no federal income taxes on $2.5 billion of U.S. income in 2020.Salesforce avoided all federal income taxes on $2.6 billion of U.S. income.

          This has been happening every single year for DECADES. Verizon made $40B in the US back in 2006-2008 and paid ZERO in federal taxes.

      • gametv says:

        The political class is literally destroying this country. Right now all those stock prices are pumped up, but what happens as the stimulus money and unemployment insurance and PPP is drained from bank accounts?

        All those people who think they are rich because their house is now worth a million or they made $250K in the stock market and now feel rich are just kidding themselves. Those gains are paper gains unless they sell and noone every really sells at the top, so all an illusion.

        The perverse side of this is that all of these trends – 30 year bond bull market, low interest rates, stock market rally, millions of unfilled jobs, home price appreciation – they might all break at the same time and start to really wipe out the “wealth effect”.

        The Federal Reserve might actually have painted themselves in a corner where they either keep raising the amount of support and inflation rate or the bottom drops out.

        My guess is that the trigger for this whole mess collapsing is when the Treasury is done depleting the store of extra cash they raised last year and must go out to the markets to sell Treasuries. That is going to be met with a lack of demand and that will push bonds to sell off hard and interest rates to rise rapidly. Once we get that happening, it all comes collapsing down. Stocks sell off hard as P/E ratios get re-examined. The Fed cant just go back to unlimited QE, as it that cause the dollar to collapse and a complete crisis of confidence in the markets. I think they dont yet know that they have already pushed beyond the breaking point.

        • David says:

          Never going to happen. The Fed is ready, willing and able to print 14 trillion if we have a 10% downturn and 20 trillion if it turns into a bear market.
          There is no stopping these folks until the dollar is worth less than toilet paper.

        • whatever says:

          About those house, stock and Bitcoin values: it’s not money until you spend it.

        • Finster says:

          Bottom line is that the real value of all those financial assets cannot be more than the goods and services available to be bought. So whatever heights asset prices reach, their value is limited to economic output.

          Kiting asset prices is a little like a room full of people playing musical chairs. You can stuff more people in the room, but when the music stops there is still the same number of chairs.

          And if you take more workers out of the labor force, it’s like adding more people to the room while simultaneously *removing* chairs.

        • Old school says:


          I agree. Instead of valuing asset price by current extreme market price we should be thinking about the 20 year real cash flows they are going to throw off which is tiny for nearly all assets.

        • Cmoore says:

          Gametv Good analysis of what could bring the market down. It is all so confusing. It seems bad news causes stocks to go up and any good news causes stocks to go down. But eventually it will be at its true price discovery.

        • Old School says:

          It’s not so hard to figure out looking at the long term. Last 10 years real GDP is growing roughly 2% and real stock market gains are growing at 12%. Fed affect on real economy may have hurt it more than helped, but now we have an asset bubble to deal with.

        • yxd0018 says:

          Fed has more ammunition and where else do the big guys park their money anyway?
          Price discovery may take much longer time than you think. Just look at Canada housing market.

      • c1ue says:

        The money going to pay the benefits isn’t coming from taxes – it is coming from printing.
        Printing can be called a taxation via the dilution of existing purchasing power, but it at least affects all holders of dollars vs just those people who earn salaries for a living.

      • NBay says:

        It’s only “the best economy in the world” (and “sweet”) if you are near the top of it.

        I doubt the homeless, payday loan, and paycheck to paycheck bunches would think very highly of it.

        Class Warfare has again been allowed to go too far, we are fast approaching another Gilded Age “economy”.

        Only one cure for that crapp (and a world war is out of the question, because if the A-birds fly, even those at the very top (string pullers/policy makers) die, and history has shown they don’t like that option much at all).

        So, it’s spread the wealth around more fairly. I propose a Green New Industry and Conservation Industry Program, paid for by taxes from having a Constitutional Maximum Net wealth, and a very strong IRS to chase down the cheaters, maybe pay them like bounty hunters.

        $10-$15M ought to do it, plenty of incentive to “work very hard”, and most will continue to work simply for the power and prestige.

        Build them all a statue, or something, employ artists.

        • NBay says:

          Ok, give the jerks $20M Constitutional Maximum Net Wealth (Last offer).

          That’s roughly equal to the 0.1% bottom entry point, back when Bernie was saying they have wealth equal to the bottom 90% at the Senate Budget Committee (2014 or so).
          They now have wealth equal to the bottom 92%.

          Tom Paine and all the dead who fought in the revolution because they believed his words that “things would be fairer”would have liked it.

          Inflation adjusted, of course, if we can’t somehow survive without fractional banking and their back-up, the Fed.

    • Paulo says:

      My Dad brought us up on, “Fish, or cut bait”. We would have been disowned if we didn’t work.

      When there are people who cannot work, then society has an obligation to help them out. But if someone is able bodied and don’t want to work, they are just a drain on everyone else and take away from those who could use a helping hand. I have often noticed that when folks cannot work, they are loathe to accept anything and often don’t. That other category…….

      • Jeremy Wolff says:

        Everyone should get 1/2 acre to themselves to live off of.

        Otherwise, all work is a form of slavery.

        • Wisdom Seeker says:

          That’s total nonsense. Work, done properly, is joyous self-actualization using all your capabilities to their fullest extent, meeting challenges and creating something of value which is traded to others for the benefit of all, at mutually agreeable prices. It is individual effort and isn’t slavery at all.

          Now, “jobs” on the other hand, being paid serf wages to further enrich billionaires and their management lackeys…

        • Jdog says:

          It is a business deal, it is the same as every other business deal.
          Everyone has to get something out of the deal.
          If you are not getting paid very much, chances are whatever you are bringing to the deal is not worth much.
          Everything is always negotiable, and employers are willing to pay more to get more.
          If you believe your skills are worth more than you are getting paid from an employer, then you should go into business for yourself and see what the “real world” is like…..

        • Ann Drake says:

          A half acre is not nearly enough. And you would need a huge amount of other stuff (tools, equipment, chemicals, storage, etc.) to farm with just to feed yourself. It’s damn difficult really. ( I actually am a professional farmer.).

        • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:


          may we all find a better day.

        • Jeremy Wolff says:

          Widsom Seeker, but your reply assumes that there is an agreeable bargain met. Everyone should have the option to not work if no agreeable bargain is met. This requires a place to go to the bathroom, sleep, and eat some grass without getting kicked out.

          People agree to jobs because they have no other choice. They have to pay rent, buy food, have a toilet. Given a little slice of the world, many people may choose to forgo work. Look at the homeless population.

        • Angel says:

          Jdog – “If you are not getting paid very much, chances are whatever you are bringing to the deal is not worth much.” Really! In some cases that maybe true, however, it isn’t for many. You’re argument says that the CEO or celebrity making $1M – 10M+ per year provides more value/service than doctors, nurses, paramedics, firefighters, the farmer that feeds you, or teachers and stay @ home parents who are raising the next generation. How much the system chooses to pays has long stopped having any connection to the value of the service being provided.

        • Lisa_Hooker says:

          “Everyone should get 1/2 acre to themselves” – so that they understand that they must pay real estate taxes to a government every year no matter what their income.

      • nodecentrepublicansleft says:

        I’ve always been a hard worker….started when I was 12. But I don’t blame our problems on the restaurant worker who won’t go back. Consider…55 huge corporations paid ZERO in federal taxes last year!

        A few notables:

        Archer Daniels Midland enjoyed $438 million of U.S. pretax income last year and received a federal tax rebate of $164 million.

        FedEx zeroed out its federal income tax on $1.2 billion of U.S. pretax income in 2020 and received a rebate of $230 million.

        Nike didn’t pay a dime of federal income tax on almost $2.9 billion of U.S. pretax income last year, instead enjoying a $109 million tax rebate.

        Dish Network paid no federal income taxes on $2.5 billion of U.S. income in 2020.

        Salesforce avoided all federal income taxes on $2.6 billion of U.S. income.

        This has been happening every single year for DECADES. Verizon made $40B in the US back in 2006-2008 and paid ZERO in federal taxes.

        If we can’t force the wealthy and corporations to pay their fair share and we can’t stop the Military Industrial Complex, etc. from raping the annual budget….this thing will eventually come to a halt.

        It’s not some dude on his couch hitting his bong that will destroy the USA. It’s the Usual Suspects and their enablers…..

        • RES says:

          A million upvotes. If they were a thing on this site.

        • timbers says:

          “55 huge corporations paid ZERO in federal taxes last year!”…… Compare and Contrast that fact to the endless comments here that corporate tax is too high, and You & I pay corporate taxes if we raise them!

        • Whatsthepoint says:

          Couldn’t have said it better myself….

        • endeavor says:

          Said it before. No corporate income taxes with NO government subsidies. Let them try capitalism.

        • John Clarke says:

          The Dude and his bong on the couch… suddenly I have an inkling to watch “The Bog Lebowski”….

        • Jeremy Wolff says:

          to receive a tax rebate, don’t you have to have paid taxes in a previous year for the rebate to count against?

        • Nacho Libre says:

          Node centre,

          1. Why did you pick those 5 companies and not the 10 highest paying? Cherry pick facts that fit the narrative and extrapolate. Isn’t that how fake news works?

          2. Among developed countries, US already has highest tax rate.

          3. As endeavor pointed out, solution is the removal of all subsidies and loopholes. Call your congress person and ask them to repeal all subsidies and grants for special interests. Ask them to close double Dutch sandwich, inversion loopholes.

          4. Congress works for corporations, for special interests, for campaign contributions.

        • c smith says:

          Most of the examples listed are the result of accelerated depreciation. IOW, companies that invest very large amounts get an immediate writeoff of their entire investment year one. Implement a minimum tax and investment is lessened. AMZN is the poster child for this. Their cap ex last year was $40 billion, up from $17 billion the year before. They paid very little cash tax because of it.

      • Dave says:

        I believe if you have to rely on government welfare to survive you should not be allowed to procreate. Mandatory reversible temporary sterility. If you can not support yourself you have no right to procreate and expect someone else to pay for it.

        • Phil says:

          Then most of the red states, who are welfare queens, would wither up on the vine.

        • Kaleberg says:

          People shouldn’t be allowed to create jobs that don’t pay enough to provide food, housing, medical care and the other basics. EBT and the like are subsidies to businesses that should go broke.

        • OutsideTheBox says:


          We are all glad you have no power to enforce your opinion.

    • VintageVNvet says:

      My dad had a similar type of thingy on the wall that said: ”Not drunk is he who from the floor can rise again and drink once more,,, but drunk is he who prostrate lies and cannot either drink nor rise.”
      Seems USA has reached the drunk stage, eh?

      • Thomas Roberts says:

        Right now, I’d say America is in the hangover stage. America can either sober up OR keep drinking to push that hangover off.

    • RES says:

      Let’s try and steer clear of silly superstition’s and try and keep the discussion rational.

    • georgist says:

      Loads of Americans are rentiers. They don’t work, but they eat. Boomers get pensions but millennials do not. Why should millennials bother to work hard? They will never achieve financial independence.

      • Kenn says:

        SOME Boomers get pensions, such as Government workers, and a few lucky private industry workers. The rest, like myself don’t. Our pensions were frozen decades ago as we were all forced into 401K plans which removed all pension liability from the companies and moved it to the workers. Retiree benefits, such as health care, were eliminated with the use of strategic bankruptcy filings. My financial security is from a lifetime of thrifty living and aggressive savings.

      • Gerald Croteau says:

        Agreed. Work hard to earn dollars? What a waste of time when those dollars won’t hold their purchasing power relative to land and other assets. Better off just taking it easy and letting the greatest generation (still in power with an 80 year old president) deal with the mess.

    • polecat says:

      I guess one needs to define what ‘work’ actually means. I, for instance, ‘work’ to tend the growables .. no, not stocks, or ipos, or spaks .. but food producing flora and fauna, on our tiny speck of dirt! So that hopefully, we won’t edge from starvation to outright death should things tip over into chaos.

    • Kaleberg says:

      As rentier, I know that’s false. I’m eating right now, a Thai style cucumber salad. I haven’t worked in decades. I own stuff, so people give me things and do stuff for me. Work has nothing whatever to do with it.

  3. Thomas Eccleston says:

    We need to increase H1Bs to bring more Indians in so they can stimulate our economy twofold by both working those unfilled jobs AND sponsoring the onlyfans accounts of those waitresses who quit to pursue their dreams. Two jobs filled for every one visa. I’ll take my nobel prize now, thanks.

    • Scott says:

      Lol excellent point

    • timbers says:

      Yah let’s create apprenticeship training jobs for those H1B’s at McDonald’s.

    • Sailor says:

      Do you know what jobs have shortages worldwide?
      STEM teachers -i.e qualified in the subject
      fighter pilots
      assorted unsexy specialist surgeons, like proctology name 3 I happen to know something about

      In other words, all the jobs you can’t fill with H1Bs.
      Well, not without major problems on Day 2 of their hire – notice how many warships are sinking these days? Notice how they never tell you who was driving?
      But, even though you can’t fill them with H1Bs, the people doing them are still leaving. Those professions are being treated like all the others – no respect for judgement, counterproductive PC BS, and woke, greedy bosses who will yell at you for not solving the messes they’ve created.

      Delve into any major disaster in the last 10 years and you will find not one person involved who both knew what they were talking about and were listened to.

      I am not joking when I say that jobs I left 14 years ago are still asking me to return. I got results, I did extra for my colleagues, I fixed the crises quickly and smoothly. But all of this stopped being rewarded about 15 years ago, and furthermore the useless wasters now do get rewarded. Ask any decent manager. They can’t reward the good ones, and they can’t even criticize (still less discipline) the bad ones.

      I have former colleagues and friends in 20 countries and as many professions. They are all telling me the same thing.

      If you haven’t already, Go Galt. You can’t fix this, and the quicker it all implodes the better, because there will then be less damage to fix afterwards.

      • Zantetsu says:

        I have a very hard time believing that the extent of military actions are really the result of the whims of one president or another.

        I think you’re misplacing your vitriol.

      • Thomas Eccleston says:

        Nah, that book is dumb and Rome didn’t fall in a day. Empires don’t collapse unless there is a major geopolitical enemy capable of seizing them, they either reform or decay into insolvency. You might say China is one, and china is hastening that decay, but it won’t be conquering the USA with ground troops. Mutually assured destruction is a thing now. They are and will, just bleed us dry, and covertly stoke the fires of division already present within our country (not that those need much help to get cookin). If you are able, I would say forget Aynn Rand’s advice, who was a polygamist btw… and just expatriate to somewhere that isn’t so broken(it’s what Aynn Rand did, she was a Russian). Ain’t no fixing this mess, not ever. Can’t even discuss the core issues, much take the difficult steps necessary to solving them.

        • Sailor says:

          Firstly, I’m not a great fan of the book, but of the principle. Secondly, there was a point where Rome collapsed very rapidly, certainly in the Provinces. It took less than 40 years after the Roman army pulled out of Britain for there to be no cities, towns, writing, or money. Could have taken 1 year, we don’t know due to the lack of writing.
          Thirdly, good people abandoning bad jobs did have a major contribution to the collapse. The Emperor had to order people to keep their jobs, and sons to take over their fathers’ jobs on retirement, on pain of death. It didn’t work, people actually quit their land and homes to avoid it.
          And fourthly, I can give numerous examples in the last decade, involving my friends and I, where our sub-standard replacements made mistakes that led directly to major problems and companies going bust. The number of good people left is now so low that everyone more leaving makes a clear difference.

      • drifterprof says:

        I totally agree with your general description, including in my second profession — higher education. It seems to be a global sociocultural problem in the evolution of organizations (I taught organizational psychology for a few semesters).

        But I don’t understand what “Go Galt” means. Get randy?

        • timbers says:

          John Galt was the hero in Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged.

        • Sailor says:

          I think it is a function of organizations without real world responsibility. In education, for example, as the system fails they just make the exams easier and ignore cheating, thus pretending standards aren’t dropping. Obviously with subjects like gender studies, the poor educators are highly unlikely to suffer the direct consequences of their poor standards. The effects are more direct in the case of subjects like engineering and medicine, but still not direct enough to maintain standards in the long run. Government inspectors bear no responsibility at all. It’s difficult to do the equivalent of what military aviation does, which is to oblige the instructor who taught a student formation flying and cleared them solo, to then lead that student’s first solo formation flight. If the student gets it badly wrong, the instructor dies too!
          The Go Galt idea is that the capable withdraw from employment in the system, thus causing the system to implode under the weight of its own incompetence and BS.

      • Katerina says:

        Sailor, let me introduce you to the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee,
        search name and read the bios.
        They have produced through local “rank” choice voting what the city has become thus far, a governor, and a VP.

      • Gerald Croteau says:

        Rand was on point with the story of going Galt. I knew one highly productive business owner who already did it at 49, sold his company, his house, and retired. People like him who actually know things, such as machining, aren’t easy to replace.

    • Educated but Poor Millennial says:

      BS, Indians are not going to clean your bathrooms, or flip burgers. They are going to take on the engineering jobs for a penny an hour and destroy more middle class jobs.

    • John Clarke says:

      I’ll vote for ya! For surely, Nobel prizes have been given away for much less.

      • Educated but Poor Millennial says:

        You and ther people living in this country needs to put food on the table. You can’t feed your child stomach with Nobel prize paper certificate. If your brother and my neighbor looses his job to a cheaper worker , (not necessarily qualified) tell them that it is government we selected. You dont want to get poorer and not afford things we used to afford, think for a house for instance.

  4. OutWest says:

    I worked directly with the public for 10+ years including front end work in restaurants and bars.

    Even with the jab, I would be hesitant to work face-to-face right now in a high volume enclosed setting with covid spreaders who sometimes caugh all over the place throughout the day.

    I’d probably look for less social employment opportunities especially considering the insanely high cost of healthcare.

    • Thomas Eccleston says:

      Nah, people under 60 don’t wear masks unless required to. Plus everyone is vaccinated who wants to be. It’s a societal change. People found other ways to make money on the side, and/or just had to cut costs and realized they didn’t care that much about the latte’s and etc. they used to buy. Working age people don’t care all that about healthcare unless they have some need for it. Plus there’s medicaid. Bet enrollment has skyrocketed in that.

    • Harrold says:

      You couldn’t pay me enough money to deal with entitled Karens on a daily basis.

      • Fromks says:

        Pandemic has shown some truely disgusting behavior from customers. Some people would rather not come back to that.

        • Thomas Roberts says:

          The pandemic did make Karen behavior more common, but it has always been there. I’m not sure how long I could be in customer service or work at a restaurant, before I’d have to throttle someone. Karen’s and Kevin’s (Male Version of a Karen) are a plague.

    • nodecentrepublicansleft says:

      I worked in restaurants for a decade….busboy, waiter, bar-back, bartender. No way I’d risk dying to that crappy pay/working conditions now.

      Like you said…with a botched Covid response…it’s not surprising people aren’t in a big hurry to go risk death/long term serious health problems for a terrible job w/terrible pay. It’s just common sense.

      It’s hysterical all these buffoons blame busboys and maids for all of America’s problems and give a pass to the people w/blood all over their hands.

      • Thomas Roberts says:

        The vaccines which anyone can get for free and quickly and have been widely available for several months now, reduces the health risk of CCP-19 to near zero. Those jobs, do suck though. There really isn’t a health excuse for avoiding work in America anymore. Unless you have a compromised immune system or something of that nature, CCP-19 is no longer a valid excuse.

        • Educated but Poor Millennial says:

          Great response, thees type of people felt the tast of free money and now just want better pay without offering any skills or showing any higher education. Also, rent is free and forbearance is postponed again until the end of September.
          Government fully focused to destroy middle class taxpayer.I have not seen this much corruption anywhere.

        • drifterprof says:

          How about the corruption of getting the country into wars for fake reasons without taxing to pay for it resulting in a bankrupted economy?

        • Educated but Poor Millenial says:

          This website discuss money , finance and economy, not politics or geopolitics and wars. I recommend to send a letter to WhiteHouse for you questions.

        • drifterprof says:

          Educated but Poor Millenial:
          “This website discuss money , finance and economy,…

          Jeez it’s not that difficult to perceive that a war bankrupting the economy IS discussing the economy.

        • OutWest says:

          …reduces the health risk of CCP-19 to near zero…

          Hold on their cowboy.

          Efficacy is 95% according to the drug makers.

          Big difference if you are dealing with the general public for 8 hours a day!

        • Thomas Roberts says:

          The vaccines reduce the risk of severe infections from CCP-19 to near zero. There is still a small chance of infection, but it’s only a mild illness, IF anything at all. Post vaccination, everyday things are comparatively, much more dangerous than CCP-19. I.e. it’s more dangerous driving to work (because of risks of car accidents), than the health risks of exposure to CCP-19 after vaccination.

      • Happy1 says:

        The early COVID response was botched, but not the vaccine response, we are well ahead of Asia and EU and the UK is the only sizable country doing better. The pandemic is effectively unless you an antivaxxer or immune compromised.

  5. Swamp Creature says:

    Everyone that is unemployed and drawing benefits should be given two weeks to take one of the open jobs or be assigned a job. If they refuse then their benefits should be cut off. This is much like how the military operates during wartime. If you didn’t want to carry a rifle in combat then you took a job as a cook, in the rear with the gear. Worked then and would work now.

    • Thomas Eccleston says:

      If the gov’t had the ability or wherewithal to do that their wouldn’t be a crisis in the first place. Travel would have been shut down right away. China had the least warning, yet were the least harmed. Think about that. Also, there would be riots. Lots of riots.

    • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

      Swamp-it may be different now (i think you’ve said you were Navy), but refusing your Army MOS/duty assignment back in the day usually led to the stockade, or dishonorable (general if your reasons were ‘good’ enough) discharge…

      may we all find a better day.

      • Swamp Creature says:

        I was lucky. I signed up volentarily after I was drafted and picked the career field that I wanted, and got it. Got assigned overseas working in a computer room. Worked out good in the long run.

        Back to my original point. No one should be collecting unemployment when there are all these open jobs available. We worked right through the pandemic and served the Veterans with their home purchases.

        • Michael Gorback says:

          Getting drafted is not my concept of luck. :-)

          Your good fortune was the result of making lemonade from lemons. You made that.

          People have told me things like, “I hurt my back when I fell off a 3rd floor balcony. I fractured a vertebra but otherwise I’m OK. I was really lucky.”

          No, if you were really lucky you wouldn’t have fallen.

        • polecat says:

          Does that go for the likes Larry Fink too?

          I mean ..who CARES. Right?


        • Kaleberg says:

          No one should be coerced into subsidizing businesses that are not economically viable. I could get rich selling gasoline at 25 cents a gallon. Should I be able to tell the government that oil companies have to sell it to me at that price?

        • Swamp Creature says:

          Lucky in that I got accepted in the Navy OCS (Officer Candidate School) two weeks before being inducted into the Army and sent to Nam. That’s like pulling an inside straight.

      • NBay says:

        Everyone I knew in Vietnam would take that “in the rear with the gear” job in a second. But like 91B20 said, refusing duty was a ticket to the stockade.
        Was even worse in WW2, they just shot you.
        One thing you ABSOLUTELY want to avoid in the Army is being chosen as an “example” to others “misbehaving”.
        Another fact about enlisting during Vietnam. If you had so much as too many speeding tickets, the Air Force and Navy wouldn’t touch you.

    • Scott says:

      The same people not working because they have the dole will be the same ones later scratching their head because they can’t find a job because they have no skills and/or a lack or marketable work habits.

      • TimTN says:

        ^^ This. Exactly true. As someone that interviews many people to hire, I already see it coming.

      • Jdog says:

        At some point in the future, you will be able to weed out the deadbeats by asking what is this year and a half gap in your employment record?

        • NBay says:

          In the future? During the 80’s recession I had two resumes, tuned to the VERY FEW 40hr job openings that came up (smart or stupid), and hoped nobody they called in my past would remember exactly when I was laid off, or quit. And if the several PT places I often worked had nothing for me, it was down to Employment office or Manpower for day work.
          That recession was nasty, I was lucky to get out with a decent job, many never did.

      • Orville says:

        Apparently some people here think being a waiter is something you have to do continuously or you or you lose your so-called marketable work habits.
        Yeah, really difficult, carrying food from the kitchen.
        Another way of looking at it is it’s clear this Italian restauranteur has a faulty business model, and it’s up to her to correct it, instead of complaining that people have options now that don’t involve her crappy dead-end jobs.

    • Cjim says:

      Oh yeah, that’s how they did it at home in East Germany! The “assigning jobs to people thing” worked so well, that the part of workers who did want to be productive fled the country by crawling through so called “Death zones”, armed with snipers and landmines to keep people locked in. And the other part of workers loved their assigned jobs….. productivity bottomed out and the country is now history.
      But great idea, in principle!!

      • Depth Charge says:

        Wow. That’s actually nothing like what he was talking about. Hysterical much?

    • Tim Reynolds says:

      You think more tyranny is the solution the already widespread tyranny…vomit.

      • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

        Tim R.-methinks you’ve hit on a major sign of a mass schizophrenia writhing in contemporary human nature…

        may we all find a better day.

    • Javert Chip says:

      Swamp Creature

      Exactly what army were you referring to where soldiers got to decide if they carried a rifle in combat?

      Certainly not the US; in WWII, Germans shot 25,000+ of their own who “objected”; USSR shot over 250,000…

      • Swamp Creature says:

        Javert Chip


        If you had any skill you could pick your billet if you enlisted and didn’t wait to get drafted. In that war there were 9 soldiers in the rear with the gear for every one in combat. It was a pretty fair system. I enlisted and they honored every commitment.

        • Well I do, and me too. We need to implement some sort of national service. A lot of people have skills they might not otherwise develop. Everyone should work at number of skills, esp those for which they think they aren’t very well suited. You learn what you are capable of, you see what other people can do, and in the end your’re a better employee or a better boss.

        • Swamp Creature says:

          Military service gives a person discipline and leadership skills. These are valuble skills no matter what field you go into. I don’t regret one moment having to go into the service for 3 years.

    • MCH says:

      Uh, no… that just isn’t right, what about matching skill sets.

      I personally think the SF joints above should automate, robot waiters. They also have a taser compartment for people who do not tip.

      Cause, robots deserve tips too.

    • OutsideTheBox says:


      Comparing the military to civilians is like comparing apples and oranges….

      Your metaphor is lacking.

  6. Jdog says:

    I am not sure why anyone would think this is strange in any way. If you reward people for not working, that is exactly what they will do.
    It is called conditioned response, and it is the same why all domesticated animals are trained….

    • Harrold says:

      Or maybe people don’t want to go back and work for crappy employers who fired them last year?

      Maybe $2.13/hr for a server doesn’t go as far as it used?

      • RightNYer says:

        What exactly were employers supposed to do when their revenues dropped to ZERO? You’re not talking about a nice tech company that can make money even if everyone is working remotely. The layoffs were centered in lower wage, hospitality and retail jobs, and those employers were largely making nothing for several months.

        In addition, the $2.13/hour bit is dishonest without reference to the tips people get.

        • nodecentrepublicansleft says:

          The minimum wage has been raised an average of just under ELEVEN CENTS a YEAR for the past 40 YEARS!!!

          Can you dig it man?

          One penny and one dime per hour every year is your raise!!

          Most people who work FT, work 2,080 hrs a year.
          2,080 x $0.11 = $228 raise every yr!!

          That’s $19/month!

          They can’t live on it. Can’t pay healthcare, go to college, buy a home, etc, etc, etc. All you can do is stay poor. Real wages flat since 1970.

          The system is broken and the country is dying because of the greed of the 1%. It’s happening right in front of your face.

          It’s not busboys and maids…..

        • MCH says:


          You realize, there is a reason it’s called minimum wage. If you are stuck at that level for 40 years, the problem isn’t with the system.

          It’s you.

          Hint, a garbage boy who just started shouldn’t be earning the same rate as a master chef who has been at it for 20 years. And if after 20 years, that person is still a garbage boy earning minimum wage, something has gone wrong, but it isn’t the country.

        • Jdog says:

          If you are working for minimum wage, your problem is not the minimum wage, it is that person in the mirror…..
          Minimum wage jobs are for kids to learn how to work, not for adults who are supposed to have skills and know how….
          Wearing a paper hat is not a job for an adult….

        • Phil says:

          Stand by the people who enabled them to be in business in the first place? Barring that, cya, wouldn’t wanna be ya.

        • RightNYer says:

          Phil, how? How do you propose a business pay employees when they have ZERO revenue?

        • Sierra7 says:

          “n addition, the $2.13/hour bit is dishonest without reference to the tips people get.”
          That “$2.13 hr” base wage for restaurant servers to me is a disgrace.
          Raise that to $10 hr. plus tips and you will see many of those jobs filled with good servers!
          Too many restaurantors have gotten wealthy off that “2.13” base wage.
          There are loads of cases of tips collected and supposedly shared that are/were not. Depends how honest your employer is/was.
          It’s a vicious business.

        • Kaleberg says:

          It looks like some people here have not worked in food services. First off, 40, or even 35, paid hours is a pipe dream. Restaurants usually dole our 20-30, and since you are on call, good luck filling in with a flexible second job.

          Also, salaries don’t go up very much. There’s usually a band above the minimum, but that’s a few bucks, and once you are the high end, you become a liability. If you want more money, you can go somewhere else with a better deal or you can switch jobs.

          Then, unless you nab a serving spot at a popular high end restaurant, this only gets you so far. Front room or back, the jobs all don’t pay much, and there’s a narrow pay band. That’s why so many cooks try to open their own place. BTW, line cook was one of the most dangerous COVID jobs, much worse than respiratory nurse.

          EBT and its ilk subsidize restaurants just as unemployment insurance subsidizes seasonal and cyclic businesses and workman’s compensation subsidizes Amazon. Stop blaming the victim. Maybe more businesses need to cover their own costs and stop leeching off the government.

        • Swamp Creature says:

          My 1st Job was delivering Newsday on Long Island. I made about $8 per week. Many customers were so cheap they never tipped and some never paid and I lost the money. During some summers I had 3 routes to fill in for vacationers. Used to go out in snow on a sled and deliver the papers to the door. My manager had a studder and we knicknamed him “mumbles”. He was a good guy. Took us on field trips to Coney Island and Yankee Stadium. After 3 1/2 years he left and they put the pressure on me to increase circulation. I didn’t comply and was fired. All these were good lessons to learn at a young age. It’s a mean world out there and sometimes there is no justice.

      • Javert Chip says:


        Assuming you’re not such a marginal employee that you’re actually only worth $2.13/hr, the solution for working for a crappy boss at $2.13/hr is quit & get a new job.

        Or maybe your gender studies degree just didn’t get you to the economic promised land?

        • Kaleberg says:

          But then people will complain that you don’t want to work and should be forced to accept that job.

      • Jdog says:

        Or maybe they had no work ethic to begin with, and it has been my experience that water always seeks its own level, and people generally get paid what they are worth…..

        • Lisa_Hooker says:

          Most of the time it takes awhile to be paid what you’re worth. Unfortunately, many younger folk are quite impatient.

      • MCH says:

        ignoring the comments about $2.13/hr because that was something that got lobbied in as an exception.

        To the question of “Or maybe people don’t want to go back and work for crappy employers who fired them last year?” The answer is simple, it’s a free country. You can do what you want. Others will do what they want or need to do. If they have an impact on you, it’s not their problem, it’s yours. Now, you could whine and moan about it…. but does that really actually help you. I doubt it.

        Remember, this is a closed system to some extent, wage inflation drives price inflation. If a bar can’t hire enough people, they either raise their prices in order to raise their wages, or they reduce hours. Or some combination there of.

        If a person doesn’t want to work, that’s their choice. But that same person should come to those who are working and whine and look for handouts through taxation and income redistribution. No one owes anyone a damned thing, you can contribute to society, or not.

        Freedom of choice, it’s a bitch. There is no free lunch.

        • Sierra7 says:

          Was it the discharged employees during Covid that whined and cried for pay for not working?
          No. It was (and still is) generally the politicians that saw themselves threatened by their own constituencies!
          The politicians declared jobs hazardous and then realized they’d better somehow compensate those laid off before the riots broke out.

        • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

          MCH-‘wage inflation drives price inflation’ ignores the concomitant factor of CURRENCY inflation. I’m sure, somewhere, Wolf has produced a chart that would illustrate the yearly inflation of dollar-currency value over the same timeframe as nodecent’s $0.11/year figure. ‘Bind the mouths of the kine that tread the grain’ long enough and they become too weak to tread, at all. Or use their remaining energies to construct and man the tumbrels…

          may we all find a better day.

        • Kaleberg says:

          What? I just ate my free lunch. A bunch of paper says I own stuff, so I get a free lunch. In fact, it’s a better lunch than most working stiffs could afford.

    • Happy1 says:

      Yes, more than half of people receiving the extra unemployment money are making more money by not working. What moron thought this was a good idea?

    • Kaleberg says:

      It’s like the USSR. They pretend to pay us, and we pretend to work.

  7. David says:

    I work for a casino. We are short 800 employees and that is before a new hotel and convention center open later this year. We raised our minimum pay for non-tipped positions to $15 in May. Pre-C19 we had a lot of $10 an hour positions. Anyone making $15 an hour or more got a 7% raise. We are offering hiring bonuses of $500 to $3,000 (some internal transfers are eligible for a bonus. People who left the casino and come back are eligible for the bonus. We also offer medical, eye, dental, 401K, life insurance, and tuition reimbursement. Since last January my pay has gone up 22%.

    We no longer test for pot. The casino is staying smoke free for now. We have an attendance point system (earn 10 points a year and you get fired). The casino is raising the 10 points to 14 points.

    It will be interesting to see if we get more applicants. I think it will help marginally. Our biggest remaining issue is lack of affordable housing in the area.

    • Ron says:

      People are fed up with corparate America been cheated and stomped on long enough will ceo and boards clean out profits

      • Jdog says:

        The prospect of living in their car and spelunking in dumpsters for dinner will change that attitude in a heartbeat….
        The world people are experiencing now, is fake, and unsustainable, and one day they will wake up to discover that….

        • Guest says:

          I’m just waiting for the gig employers to lower wages even more as millions of desperate people take on anything in the winter.

          It doesn’t give me satisfaction but they did vote for self interests instead of fixing obvious issues. Ahem California.

    • Sailor says:

      One simple question.
      Do your jobs pay enough to (eventually) buy a home and raise a family?
      When the vets came back from the world wars, that’s all they asked for. It’s the two simple aims of human existence.
      From what you say about affordable housing, the answer appears to be no.
      It very probably isn’t even mostly your fault, and you can lay much of the blame on the Government, but your hourly rate is the only thing your potential employees have a choice about. It doesn’t matter what your rates and conditions are in absolute terms, just what they are relative to your local market and competitors.
      In the past, in numerous countries, employers have bought land and built homes to fix that problem. It was ubiquitous in the 19th century. I know you don’t see yourselves as in the real estate business, but the government sure isn’t going to fix the problem for you.
      And without being trite, you may just have to make less profit, maybe a lot less.

      • Jdog says:

        OK, it is real simple. The people “supported” their jobs being exported so they could buy cheap crap at big box stores. Then they supported massive illegal immigration which skewed the ratio of labor vs. jobs. Now they are crying because wages are low. You cannot make this stuff up….. Cause and effect children.. cause and effect.
        When you cannot even determine what is in your own best interests, do not expect others to do it for you.

        • nodecentrepublicansleft says:

          Most people don’t support anything. They simply have no choice.

          They accept what happens because the vast majority of people are largely powerless.

          You rantings don’t even sound like somebody vaguely familiar w/reality. What you’re saying……it’s all nonsense.

          Nobody “supported their job being exported”. What sort of outlandish buffoon says something so ridiculous!!?? :)

          “The people” aren’t making these decisions. It happens on high and the results come down and slap all of us in the face.

        • jon says:

          People are helpless. Democracy gives people a charade that they elect the policy makers which would work for the people. In reality, both parties take turns to serve the true master ie elite. This is how I feel.

        • Jdog says:

          “Most people don’t support anything” And there in lies the problem. If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

        • Sailor says:

          The average person will not vote for an independent candidate in an election, and this is an underlying problem.
          A second underlying problem is that the average person will vote for whomever improves (or least worsens) their situation in the short term. People are either unable to consider or do not weight sufficently the long term effects. Maturity has been described as the ability to delay gratification, and there are a lot of immature adults who vote.
          Arguably most of the world still have elections where a difference can be made, but the average voter chooses not to break the dominance of the two or three large parties in their country. So, it is the average voters’ fault, but ultimately it may be that human nature is the problem.
          Personally, I’ve chosen to live somewhere rural where the locals can and do almost completely ignore the government, and they themselves are almost all mature, good people. Thus whatever the average voter does makes no practical difference to me.

        • Sierra7 says:

          Anyone that believes that “workers supported their jobs being sent overseas” is either dementiated or delusional or suffers from a mental hernia! The same goes for the common working stiffs supporting massive immigration.
          American labor has been sold down the river by the International Labor Leaders, politicians and the oligarchy of US corporate CEO’s.
          And, of course the total ignorance of so many Americans regarding how the middle class evolved.

        • NBay says:

          Jdog refers to us as children and is beginning to speak in parables.

          You don’t think…that…..maybe…..nah, couldn’t be……

      • Abomb says:

        Where almost anywhere in America does median income make the median house at current prices achievable by past common rules of thumb for how much house is affordable?

        Maybe Wolf could do a review of where all these numbers stand. As far as our neighbors to the north, I think they’ve shown how much further out of wack this could get.

        • MM says:

          I too would love to know where in America does the median income allow for purchasing the median home. Would be great to see it as a map.

        • yxd0018 says:

          House is a privilege. Even though it might correct but it might take 10 years and price may not come down much. Just look at RE in china, Canada, UK.

        • yxd0018 says:

          To MM
          You can google the chart. It’s not as bad as you think.

        • Happy1 says:

          Outside of 20 metro areas mostly on the coasts, and some resort areas, the median home is middle class achievable.

        • Paulo says:


          It depends on where you live in a country that is 5500km from coast to coast.

          Plenty affordable where I live, 200 direct km from Vancouver and 300km from Victoria.

          Canada is not Toronto and Vancouver RE, despite what some commenters infer here almost every other day. Neither does Boston and SF extrapolate to the rest of the US in costs and living standards.


        • Angel says:

          Paulo – You are much further north than I thought and in fact, what most would consider in the middle of nowhere. Hence why it’s still affordable, however, being that far out the opportunities are extremely limited and local resources almost as much so. Being that rural isn’t for the vast majority of the population due to lack of broader opportunities. If they tried to be there, your area wouldn’t be affordable anymore and/or would have an unemployment problem. In the last 8 months many, albeit less isolated areas, have seen that run up in spades.

          You are right the whole RE market isn’t TO or Van the way it’s made out, however and particularly after the last year, the vast majority of the markets outside of TO & Van aren’t that much more affordable to the median household. The affordability crisis is in all the secondary markets and further out.

          Your comments are fair but do need some qualifying.

    • Heinz says:

      “We raised our minimum pay for non-tipped positions to $15 in May. Pre-C19 we had a lot of $10 an hour positions. Anyone making $15 an hour or more got a 7% raise….We also offer medical, eye, dental, 401K, life insurance, and tuition reimbursement.”

      Those are mighty big increases in cost of labor in such a short time.

      Casino business must be booming to support the increased cost of doing business.

      I wonder.

      • Anthony A. says:

        The casinos are full down this way (in Louisiana). Lots of retirees spending their SS and “Stimmie” checks there. It’s becoming a national pastime for retirees.

      • yxd0018 says:

        To Heinz:
        Does the business support higher $15 wages. How does that impact the volume? AOC’s old employer said they couldn’t.

    • Depth Charge says:

      “Our biggest remaining issue is lack of affordable housing in the area.”

      That’s the biggest problem everywhere. The local wages don’t afford even the cheapest housing options. This is why Weimar Boy Powell and his ilk should be drawn and quartered. You’re not going to buy $120 billion in MBS per month when your guts are spread all over fairgrounds with people cheering.

      • Abomb says:

        Makes me wonder what younger generations will do when they realize what’s been done to push any similar level of prosperity out of reach so the current generation at the top can enjoy what they obviously feel so entitled to.

        If nothing changes this country will be headed more towards socialistic policies, I believe, for better or worse.

    • GrassRanger says:

      David, maybe the casino needs to adopt the cruise line model. The on-board employees have a place to go provided by the company after every day’s duty time. I know the parallel are not exact, but you might take a look at the way other business have dealt with this same issue now and in the past. Lots of businesses/industries once provided housing for their workers.

      • Depth Charge says:

        Ahhh, yes, back to the Grapes of Wrath and the ol’ “company store” model. What prosperous times we live in – for pigmen.

  8. LouisDeLaSmart says:

    I think this one might be is simple. Labor mobility is affected by housing cost. People moved during covid and now they cannot afford to move back.
    But also I have heard this story hundreds of times from empoyers…

    There is no quality labor available!

    Well, the acctual statement goes as follows>

    There is no quality labor immediately avaialable at the location we need for the pay we offer that prefereably have 10 years of experience and will work for a junior salary, with vague and undefined promisses of future and “market competitive benefits” (if any).

    • Harrold says:

      Add in the on demand scheduling everyone is moving to now a days. It makes life difficult when you don’t know when or how many hours you will be working.

      And the ability to hold two part-time jobs becomes impossible.

    • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

      LDLS-agree. The pause in the labor shows to me that time off led people to seriously examine what they believe they are worth and how much it costs them to actually go to work. Long-term avoidance of reason seems popular on all sides…(speaking of long-term, this has been illustrated by the essential doubling of the labor force since the ’70’s. Arithmetic indicates that labor’s overall value had to be seriously watered down, no matter the gender. Couple with the impact this had on the ‘traditional’ U.S. family of the ’50’s-’60’s, this new labor-market ‘weirdness’ might indicate a family-unit trend back, with gender roles in child-raising now more fluid and acceptable).

      may we all find a better day.

    • Sailor says:

      There is no labor shortage.
      There is a slave shortage.

      • Zantetsu says:

        With the wealth disparity in this country being what it is, I have to agree.

      • Kurtismayfield says:

        I would tell the owners complaining about a labor shortage “There is only a labor shortage at the wage you are offering.”

        There is no shortage at higher wages.

        Millions of people on the US want the laws of economics to work for everything except labor.

      • Phil says:

        Agreed, who wants to work 40 hours a week, with a random schedule that changes every week, in poor conditions with a rude and diseased public, and take home $350 for the trouble? Try to explain that to all the retired jokers here who haven’t interacted with the real economy in a decade though.

      • Nathan says:

        Closer to the truth than many other comments. I myself grow tired of the grind of the game… and of the parasites that draw off ever more of our lives energies… in the form of money (taxation in all its various forms). Wage slaves or slaves of a lifestyle? Who really knows anymore. Where there once at least seemed some purpose… lies what?

      • Eugene says:

        Exactly,even illigal mexicans do not work for mininum wage.They demand 20$ an hour ,no more than 8 hours a day plus lunch,construction job,NYC. Cleaning mexican women charge 20$ an hour.

  9. SocalJim says:

    They will all be back … after the wages offered rise substantially. But, the higher wages will just go to pay higher mortgages/rents, food, gas, … This is how inflation works.

    People retired on fix income will be screwed if they do not own lots of quality real estate/hard assets. Soon, our streets will be filled with homeless retired people.

    What a failure. The midterms can not come soon enough.

    • Harrold says:

      You might want to take a gander at the velocity of money these days.

    • Seneca’s Cliff says:

      Who will be paying these “higher rents” if the retired folks are homeless and no one else wants to take a job and work. Will we move to the next level economy where owners of property just rent to each other like a snake eating it’s own tail?

      • Nathan Dumbrowski says:

        They might just have to bunk up and share quarters. Just because one income doesn’t make enough to live doesn’t mean you can’t multi-family a residence. Ideal. Hell NO. But practical. YES

        • jon says:

          Yes, this is happening in Southern California. The rents are high, home prices are high so many families are living in single home, one bedroom for each family.
          A simple 4 BR home is 1 million USD, quite expensive for average Joe but if 4 families come together, they can easily afford it.
          I call it third world-ization of CA and am seeing it right here in Southern CA in front of my eyes. Not the America I thought I saw when I left my home country 20 years back.

        • Anthony A. says:

          Jon, that was going on when I lived in Thousand Oaks, Ca in the 1980’s. It’s a California way of life for some.

    • OutsideTheBox says:



      Economic study after economic shows that overall businesses are unable to pass along increased expenses to their customers.

      Some prices increases are possible but some of the increased expenses come out of profits.

      Thus labor cost increases are not as extreme ad they are portrayed.

  10. Gian says:

    If welfare has taught us anything, it is if you pay someone to sit on their a$$ and become morbidly obese, that is precisely what they will do. Couple this with government mandated rent moratorium and you have a recipe for the current shortage. I don’t buy the BS about servers pursuing pie in the sky dreams. I know several large employers in CA, manufacturing and construction, who are having a hard time recruiting workers due to unemployment benefits.

  11. fred flintstone says:

    The image of the self reliant American is nearly gone. Just about everyone has their hands in the government pig feed. Even the rich cannot resist taking a government contract, tax cut, credit, insurance, assistance or subsidy. etc. So who can complain. There is hardly anyone not benefiting.
    I have no idea how unemployment works….luckily never was unemployed…….but assuming the following is how it works if I were paid 400 per week in regular unemployment and then received an additional 400 from federal sources…….see you.
    The same reason a universal income will not work……if basic needs are satisfied some folks will not get out of bed. Especially those who earn little beyond the basic needs.
    Why is the media so clueless about the issue…..don’t bother……everyone knows…..even them.
    Another case where government help is restraining the economy not promoting it.

    • Apple says:

      Maybe they can’t afford to buy a car to get to work?

      • RightNYer says:

        I took a bus to work for many years.

      • Zantetsu says:

        They could bike to work. I have done it in the past when I did not have a car. Would help with the obesity too.

        I mean obviously we’re not talking about any one individual here as everyone has their own unique conditions that may preclude one solution or another.

        But when I look around at my fellow Americans, I generally do *not* see people willing to sacrifice and make the hard choices.

        I think wages should be raised. But I also think that people need to become more productive in all aspects of their lives at the same time, to earn it.

        That’s just my opinion, obviously. I am sure that those who can’t stand the thought of anyone anywhere every being criticized (unless their net worth is over a certain value) will hate it, but it is what it is.

      • Swamp Creature says:


        Buy a clunker like I did. I got to work. When it broke down, I took public transportation. I’m tired of hearing from these whining dogs.

        • Jdog says:

          Long gone are the days when a kid learned work ethic from getting up at 4am and delivering newspapers every day for 2 hrs. before school for a dollar a day.
          The current generation is spoiled and entitled.

        • 728huey says:

          Jdog, you’re being delusional about work ethic when there aren’t nearly as many newspaper outlets these days, let alone anyone who could deliver such papers. And no, you can’t just easily buy a piece of la d and build your own homestead when you’re competing against Wall Street banks who are even now buying up farmland thus jacking up the price of land to astronomical highs. So many if the people posting here haven’t actually gone out and looked at the massive changes in the economy, which doesn’t take into account all the offshoring and now automation of jobs previously worked by middle class workers. And don’t even mention “learn how to code” because the low hanging coding jobs have been commoditized by cheap H1B visa labor while the higher paying AI and machine learning coding jobs require quite if bit of education even some Ivy League students can’t learn that easily.

        • Ronin says:

          It was 5am, route took just over an hour and if I was lucky I could make 2-3 bucks a day. Also had to collect payment from the customers, learned about deadbeats and profit margins at the ripe old age of 12.

          Very valuable insight into humanity at an early age.

      • Old School says:

        A used 50cc scooter that goes 35 mph is about $500 where I live. A used bicycle around $100.

    • Petunia says:

      In the south unemployment maximums are very low, check the amounts. A person would be lucky to even reach the maximum payout of $200 or $250. In some states, like FL, the number of weeks you can collect is also very low.

  12. Boomer says:

    Nothing transitory about wage increases. J&J take note.

    • endeavor says:

      Ever stop to think the people not working are those who the higher wages have culled from the workforce? They are not needed until the attitudes change or skills are improved.

      • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

        endeavor-careful, you’re talking fact (along with a relentless and unavoidable drive towards universal automation…uh, Alexa, could you get me the references for that statement, please…).

        may we all find a better day.

  13. Todd says:

    I know manufacturing company after manufacturing company in Ohio desperate to hire 30, 40, 50 team members … they have stopped drug screens in many cases and entry level pay rates from $16 – 22 per hour … and they still can’t fill their open positions. When that kind of pay isn’t of more value than depending on the government, we’ve created a huge mess.

    • Ensign_Nemo says:

      You need to follow the news closely to find the details of why very few people who were making under $22 an hour, and are now on unemployment, want to go back to work.

      Most people know that the federal government is providing $300 more a week on top of the state unemployment insurance. State unemployment varies but it usually around $400 a week.

      The government is also providing free Silver-level Obamacare to the unemployed.

      The government is also giving the unemployed a federal income exclusion of $10,200. I’ll provide a link to the IRS here, even though Wolf frowns on excessive linking in these posts:

      This is on top of the standard deduction of $12,550 for a single taxpayer, so a single person collecting unemployment can receive $22,750 of taxable income before he pays anything in tax.

      At $700 a week for 52 weeks, he’d collect $36,400 and pay tax on $13,650, or about $1439.

      If he had a job and earned $36,400 then he’d owe about $2663 in tax, so this exemption would be worth about $1224 to this unemployed person, using these numbers.

      If you have no job, you get free healthcare at the second level of the four tiers of Obamacare, you get state UI + $300 a week, and you get an extra $10,200 exemption for federal income tax.

      If you are on a payroll then you may or may not have any healthcare coverage. You must pay full federal income tax AND the 7.65% FICA taxes, nuisance taxes such as per capita tax, union dues, etc., in addition to any transportation costs associated with your commute.

      If you do the math, then $16-22 per hour to actually show up on site and work looks like a bad financial decision, at least in the short and medium term.

      • Heinz says:

        One can’t help but wonder at times if the politician opportunists did not seize on the pandemic response to do an end run around the federal $15/hr minimum wage law impasse in Congress.

        It worked out well in the end for the $15+/hr promoters, because now employers (usually small-medium enterprises that have low profit margins and many barely scrape by) are now forced to raise wages and offer bonuses just to entice warm bodies in through the hiring door.

        • Ensign_Nemo says:

          If UI is at $700 a week, that’s $17.50 an hour for a 40 hour work week. Health care is free for the unemployed. There are no FICA payroll taxes since an unemployed person is not on a payroll. Federal income tax is ~$1200 less for anyone making $36K who quits his job.

          This is all roughly equivalent to about $22-$25 an hour in de facto UBI, even if it is not called that by name and is spread across several pieces of legislation.

          At this point, the honest working class – people that are still actually working at legit jobs – is being played for fools by the government and the people who are working off the books and collecting tax-free cash. The law-abiding workers do their work and pay their taxes, and everyone else gathers a big slice of the fruits of their labors.

          I wonder if anyone in government has the wit to realize that they are sabotaging the very “essential workers” that society actually needs to feed everybody.

          If the farmers, truckers, and grocery workers all quit doing those jobs then the government will need to figure out a way to print food.

          We may have food riots soon not because of a bad harvest, but because nobody is willing to work their ass off when they can make more money by doing nothing at all.

        • Jdog says:

          ^This^ It is really simple. People are not interested in working if they can get paid a living wage not to work. They may not be geniuses, but they can at least figure out it is better to not work for more more money than to work for less….
          The situation was caused by the government, and the only way to fix it is to stop the UI payments.

        • Depth Charge says:

          Not only that, but if you can earn $25 per hour for sitting home doing nothing, or $35 per hour for toiling away for 40 hours a week, people are, by and large, going to choose to sit home for the $25.

          CONgress is so out of touch with the working person that they did not even understand that their programs were massive financial windfalls for the average worker. They incentivized people to not work, and that’s what they’ve got in spades.

        • polecat says:

          Well, We all know that said “Congress” works so, so hard .. employed as it were .. at their theater of the Political Kabuki, to song and dance a conjure to the lowlymokes, whilst doing insider trades on the markets …. with the additiona sinecures, perks, and such that they’ve ALL become accustomed to.

          Great ’employment’ for such cheap whores, no?

      • Happy1 says:

        +1000. Stupidest government policy I’ve seen in my lifetime.

        • Sailor says:

          Just wait till the next one ;)
          Seriously, the idiots we have are forced into hiring even bigger idiots to work for them, because cleverer people will point out their mistakes and take their jobs. Same for candidates in political parties.
          We are well into the endgame here.

  14. Seneca’s Cliff says:

    Let me see if I get this right. No one wants to work, unemployment and stimmies are running out while the price of everyday goods is increasingly rapidly. But people think the price of real estate, cars and vacations will be bid up to the moon. Seems to me like the bug is heading toward the windshield.

    • MCH says:

      There will be another round. Relax. JB will take care of it. The big guy has got you covered.


      They are stacks of $1s just in case you’re wondering.

      • Paid Minion says:

        “Shortage of licensed/experienced help”

        So say business owners. Boo-fricking-hoo.

        In the airplane fixing business, pay has been frozen in the $35/hour range for experienced help since about 1995. Magically transforming us from “middle class” to “working poor”. Contract work has been frozen in the $50/hour range since y2k.

        When they werent offering shitty buyouts to the 45-50 and older crowd, or take your chances with layoffs with no severance.

        Or dumping the maintenance department, when the chief pilot needs to justify his $150k/year salary, by cutting costs.

        What you have now, is all of us old guys (meaning over 45-50) being kicked to the curb, because we “cost too much” (anything over $75k year), and replaced by 25-30 year olds making half that, on OJT (because the old guys arent around anymore)

        You would think that rich people with airplanes would care about who is working on their airplanes. For the most part, you would be wrong. “Waddaya mean its fubar? I’ve got a piece of paper saying its in perfect condition”

        Back when my youngest was in high school, she was making minimum wage. I calculated that if she had to pay her own transportation expenses, instead of being paid by the Bank of Dad, she would be taking home about $1.50/ hour. Basically, a subsidy for the fast food industry coming straight out of parents pockets.

        Not much better for my oldest. Store Manager for American Eagle. Dropped out of college when she discovered most of her employees were college grads, trying to pay off 5-6 figure student loans while making $12/hour.

        (I suppose she could go to med school. Used to live near the KU Med Center in KC, lots of doctor in training neighbors. Was talking with one just starting his residency one night. Found out he had $400k plus in student loan balance outstanding, to get thru his residency. He would be totally fooked, if he didnt become a doctor, for whatever reason)

        After two kids, discovered that work related expenses was eating 75% of her salary. So she has been a stay at home mom for the past 7-8 years.

        This trend of screwing the wretched refuse has been in place since the Republicans/business owners/top 10% got the upper hand over the national economy.
        Coincidence? I think not.

        And it appears that the ideology is entrenched, when their solution to the economy’s problems is cutting off a measely couple hundred bucks a week, just to turn millions of their fellow citizens back into underpaid wage serfs.

    • Kenny Logouts says:

      Yeah I’m with the Fed here.

      They’re saying transitory inflation.

      They’re happy the population’s reaction is actually inflationary as that’s what they’ve wanted for a decade.

      But the reality will be a deep and harsh drop in demand in any case.

      If inflation does occur, the benefits won’t, so their consumption and this demand will be curtailed. Deflationary.
      Interest rates rise due to inflation.

      Or benefits cut, demand falls off a cliff. Deflationary.

      The economy is painted entirely into a corner now.
      Only a magical event like the discovery of cheap and clean nuclear fusion for free energy or something, appears to be the way out.

      Or possibly the opposite event. A deep long Cold War with China.

  15. Brent says:

    “Weird phenomenon”

    Well,maybe it is The Third Great Awakening ??? ?

    (Second Great Awakening happened in 1795-1835)

    My favorite Field of Non-Toiling, Non-Spinning Lilies is Chicago South Side.

    >$1000 Michael Jordan sneakers,thick gold chains,expensive cars, ammunition does not appear to be in short supply high prices notwithstanding…

    I am 100% sure everybody lives within driving distance of such wonderful fields.

  16. Saltcreep says:

    I suspect it might be interesting to see how the data divergence is as relates to states that are and are not rolling off the increased unemployment benefits, as the divergence shows up.

    My personal bet is that we will see a different outcome for the two categories. I will also go out on a line and bet that the next US payrolls reports will come in higher than expected.

    Not that I necessarily think that bringing desperate people back to work in shitty jobs on salaries that leave them ever more stranded whilst asset owners race ahead is necessarily a good thing from a societal POV…

    • Heinz says:

      “I suspect it might be interesting to see how the data divergence is as relates to states that are and are not rolling off the increased unemployment benefits, as the divergence shows up.”

      I would love to see a famous Wolfstreet chart showing that comparison!

  17. gorbachev says:

    On top of it all Wolf the Mexican border is closed. So
    all those people are also not in the labor force. I always
    thought Mexicans were taking so many American jobs.
    No so as it turns out.

    • Jdog says:

      In 1970 there were 2.5 million Hispanics in CA. Today there are 25 million and they are the majority. Kind of shoots a hole in your statement….

      • Anthony A. says:

        We have our share in Texas too! But if I recall, they used to own the place.

        • Wolfbay says:

          No the native Americans did. The Mexicans and Americans both did a good job of taking the land. Look up the history of the Mexican and Indian wars.

      • gorbachev says:

        American citizens I imagine.

        • Saltcreep says:

          Sooomos Americanos,
          y esta noche
          vamos a bailaaaaaar.

          Yeah, that works, I reckon. You could take that to the World Cup and sing it (At least after the immensely corrupt one they’re holding in Qatar is done with…)

        • Michael Gorback says:

          Or with green cards. The people here legally are not always favorably inclined toward those who are here without going through the work of getting legal residency.

          And don’t send the illegals home until after the wall is built. Otherwise there won’t be anyone to build the wall.

      • Wolf Richter says:


        Crap, got another one here who doesn’t know what “majority” means. Hispanic = 39% of CA population. Non-Hispanic = 61%. Hispanics are the “largest ethnic group” in CA, but not a “majority (which would be over 50%).

        Your 25 million figure is also BS, obviously.

        California used to belong to Mexico, and many cities have Spanish names, if you haven’t figured this out yet.

        • Jdog says:

          Largest ethnic, I stand corrected. Although it has the same effect. It still gives them the political leverage.

        • Jdog says:

          Actually, the correct term would be ethnic majority……

        • Jdog says:

          You missed the point completely. The point is not their race, that does not matter, what matters is the effect they have had on the supply of labor. It does not matter where immigrants come from, they all add to the labor pool, and that devalues labor.
          Exporting the nations manufacturing while at the same time allowing illegal immigration to run rampant is a sure fire method of depressing wages, and displacing workers at the bottom of the food chain. The increase of illegal immigration and the rise in homelessness is not unrelated.
          It is the duty of a government to represent the interests of the Citizens of their country, and ours has been working in the complete opposite of that…

        • drifterprof says:

          jdog: “It is the duty of a government to represent the interests of the Citizens of their country, and ours has been working in the complete opposite of that…It does not matter where immigrants come from, they all add to the labor pool, and that devalues labor.”

          Okay, say there are about 14 million Hispanic/Latinos in California. Discounting the illegals, some portion of that 14 million are new citizens as will as the old citizens. Very old families that have lived there longer than most others.

          What is confusing is: jdog does seems imply that the duty of the Government is to represent some kind of special citizens, which excludes *those* Hispanic/Latino citizens.

        • MCH says:

          But it’s a nice way to get votes by promising them free money and services.

        • Petunia says:


          I’m a Latina and agree with you. The Latino community is not on one side of this issue in its entirety, this is a big political myth. Among Latino citizens probably the majority agree with you too.

  18. Micheal Engel says:

    1) Children out of school for > 1Y will have difficulties adjusting to
    normal classroom discipline.
    2) Adding few $ incentive to attract workers is not enough to switch and get
    people out of the house.
    3) There is no penalty for being fearful or lazy.
    4) Women will find any excuse to stay in the safety of the house, force their husbands to fins a job, to feed the family : that’s what happened after WWII.
    5) Women Lib is dead. The screamers thrive !
    6) Amazon and UPS suck the air out of the shrinking job market. They attract blue collar workers and employees in the service sector to push packages from point A to point B.

    • Joe100 says:

      My morning dog walking partner told me today that his daughter who has been bar tending plus part time FedEx work just quit FedEx and is now doing three barteending shifts and making way more $$ than her FedEx work was paying.

      • Petunia says:

        One of the delivery services is offering internships at no pay to get free labor. Maybe this is being counted as a job nobody wants. Apparently, the draw is you can use the company as a reference and experience for a real job. Another WTF moment in this great economy.

    • Ann Drake says:

      4). Right after WWII, women got laid off to make way for returning (GI) men. They weren’t given a choice!

      These days women have to work to have the safety of a roof over their heads.

      Get your facts straight.

      • Heinz says:

        “4). Right after WWII, women got laid off to make way for returning (GI) men. They weren’t given a choice!”

        Sounds somewhat true, but what was the country supposed to do? Send the returning servicemen (who were put in harm’s way and made many sacrifices defending us) to unemployment lines or put them on the dole?

        The 1940s were a different era with a different social contract and norms (the Wokesters can howl now – – -).

        Back then, one average blue collar job (with the husband in breadwinner role) could support a family comfortably. Women were mainly child care givers and homemakers– honorable roles that are vilified by feminists and wokesters today.

        My, how times change.

        • Apple says:

          Jobs change.

          It requires 2 incomes to live in 2021.

        • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

          Ann/Heinz-reref my comment above as to roughly doubling the workforce. The arithmetic shows this devaluing of labor over the long-term in the absence of real economic growth (how many boats are actually floating vs. those whose pumps are barely functioning or have quit altogether?). Frog boiled slowly as U.S. society accepted the norm/necessity of two-incomes to maintain an American family aided by the narcotic of super-easy revolving credit. The social costs were kicked down the road in terms of truly respecting and aiding the necessary work of a parent at home for the following generations.

          We broke it, and we bought it…

          may we all find a better day.

  19. David Hall says:

    A local business is using a temporary agency to fill positions, but they are more expensive than the permanent workers the business had before the pandemic.

    The obesity epidemic is causing health problems that lead to early retirement whether the sick person is financially prepared to retire or not.

    Elsewhere I read an article about a probable wave of evictions next month.

    • Ron says:

      But won’t raise pay to get people same at my job 17$ a hour temps 22$ a hour simple math for better outcome

      • El Katz says:


        The $17 likely comes with required payments into workman’s comp insurance, SSI contribution, unemployment insurance contribution, possibly health insurance, vacations, possible 401K, etc.,. The $22 is paid @ a flat $22 with no strings attached.

        No lawsuits. Can get rid of people who are troublesome or non-productive with a phone call. No liability for sexual harassment (falls to the temp agency), unjust termination, racial discrimination….

        Lots of benefits to “contract” workers and very little downside risk.

        • Ron says:

          Except they mostly can’t do job get fitted after first day

        • El Katz says:

          “Except they mostly can’t do job get fitted after first day”

          I assume “fitted” should be “fired”.

          No, not entirely true. There is such a thing as long term contract workers. We had them at the company I worked for – some were contract workers for decades and preferred it that way. After proper training, they could be as productive, if not more so, because they were less likely to grouse around the water cooler.

          Some worked in positions such as the mail room, janitorial services, etc.. Others in customer service (call centers), special projects (recalls, product update campaigns)…. Some were in IT working as support people on special projects.

          These arrangements also allow for businesses to “test drive” an employee and the employee to “test drive” the company. The $22 vs $17 is just the premium to do so.

          Keep in mind that the person doing the work @ $22 an hour doesn’t see that. They are likely still getting paid less than you…. there’s the premium paid to the agency that comes off the top.

  20. Fromks says:

    Last time unemployment was this low, the Fed paused QE.

    Think they will still have their foot on the gas this time though.

    • Lisa_Hooker says:

      I have heard from a high-level authority that when unemployment drops to 6.5% and inflation reaches 2% the Fed will normalize everything. Oh, wait…

  21. Charles Ponzi says:

    I find it ironic that employers are complaining that no one wants the jobs they offer. 18 months ago the same employers offered essentially zero hours contracts. Employees were on call but not guaranteed a minimum number of hours.

    Benefits were minimal to nonexistent and working conditions reminiscent of Vance Packard’s Jungle. Is it any wonder that dreamers, schemers and just pain folks are not flocking back to be underpaid and abused?

    Good employers will survive and thrive by recruiting and retaining good employees. Bad employers will encounter Schumpeter’s Creative Destruction.

    • Tom Jones says:

      Yep. At best most employers were a tyrannical necessity tolerated to provide the basic necessities of an existence. When even full time drudgery work, and being subjected to the petty whims of “everything’s a crises” bosses, no longer pays for even the basics, given a Covid break from work, many people figured out a little niche for themselves to survive, without all the stress of being on a treadmill going nowhere that’s constantly being sped up under their feet. You have tiny homes in a friend or relative’s back yard. People taking their life savings buying a place big enough to grow their own food, and preserve it, and learning to “make do” the way generations before them used to do, prior to the time when buying the next shiny object became the national imperative.
      In short, people have been using their God given ingenuity to escape the crap thrown at them for too long.
      Once the water cools down, the frog realizes he was in a pot of water that gradually heated up to boiling. But the fire went out temporarily, due to Covid, and the frog came to his senses and jumped out of the pot.

    • Paid Minion says:

      Want to end the “undocumented worker” problem. No walls, no concentration camps/detention centers, no crashes of trucks packed with 20-30 people.

      Simple. Start throwing the people who hire/employ them in jail. And/or fine them the difference between what they were paid, and the current “living wage”.

      Or……make their employers liable for damages they cause, on or off the job. After all, the drunk, unlicensed, uninsured driver wouldn’t be here, if he/she wasnt working.

      The reason this will never happen, is that there are too many people profiting from the current situation. They pretty much rake in the benefits/profits, while the “costs” are socialized.

      This includes the MNCs whose business practices south of the Rio Grande have helped create the problem

  22. David says:

    Here is another angle. C19 changed how a lot of people look at life. My wife is 64. She got laid off when her department was reduced from 6 to 2 people due to lack of work. She has no interest going back to work when she can watch our new granddaughter. We will hold off her taking Social Security for as long as possible.

    I am 59 and want to retire next year after my wife goes on Medicare. Today I pay for her medical insurance at my job. There are 3 other people in my department my age or a few years older who all want to retire as well. C19 has people seeing there is more to life than working to 65 or 67. None of us are lazy. We just look at life differently now.

    • El Katz says:


      Before you put your wife on Medicare, look very carefully at what Medicare actually costs per month. It’s not free. Part A is. Part B is about $145 a month in 2021. Supplemental insurance (so you don’t get gaffed with “copays” and over billings) for me is about $155 a month (last time I was admitted to a hospital was when I was born) and drug insurance (for an admittedly crappy plan because I don’t take anything) is $35 (my wife’s drug plan is $90 per month). In a quick math, it’s about $400 a month for her. This is exclusive of deductibles (I think that’s around $200 each per year). We spend about $9K per year for the two of us (and that’s if nothing goes wrong or you get sick and the drug is not in the formulary and you have to pay $900 a month for one prescription).

      Hope you have planned for that.

      • Anthony A. says:

        Same here. We have been on Medicare for over 10 years. With the supplemental policies, drug plan (wife needs expensive drugs), drugs, etc, we spend about $12 K per year out of pocket.

        All my old friends are in the same boat, cost wise.

      • Jdog says:

        Medicare is actually more expensive for most people than being insured under Obama Care by quite a bit.

        • Michael Gorback says:

          Yes but Obamacare sucks, while Medicare is the best insurance I’ve ever had.

          When I was in practice I never accepted a single Obamacare Exchange policy. They paid 50% of Medicare rates. Nobody wants to see patients with an Obamacare exchange policy.

          The rules for insurance in general were totally disrupted by the ACA. The lowest risk demographic pays the worst share – young men.

          Older men benefit because they are actually likely to use the services they pay for. Young men usually don’t require much medical care.

          Also the ACA prohibits charging females more than males. A young woman is a much higher risk than a young man, because a young woman has a good likelihood of getting pregnant. Childbirth costs a lot of money.

          So the lowest-risk segment, people who are young and healthy with no possible pregnancy risk, pay an outrageously disproportionate amount. Although there are age tiers they don’t compensate for the price disparity.

          In addition, insurance has always involved risk assessment. If you want to ship a ton of gold through pirate-infested waters to Ethiopia it will cost a lot more insurance than to Australia. An art museum with a special showing of the finger paintings of Spiro Agnew will pay less for insurance than a Picasso exhibition.

          The ACA changed that. If you have all sorts of health problems you can’t be denied a policy or charged a higher premium.

          So insurers are no longer insurers in the traditional sense. They no longer sell coverage for risks. They are vendors of financial backstops, severely constrained by law.

          And before you but-but-but about the right to health care, there is no such right. It’s a societal decision.

          Secondly, health insurance is not the same as health care. A policy that restricts what it will pay for is obviously not guaranteeing you’ll get the health care that many believe is their right.

          Medical practices devote a significant number of hours every week fighting denials.

        • Anthony A. says:

          Your summary is right on the mark, Michael. It’s unfortunate that the vast majority of people in this country, both Medicare age and lower, really don’t understand the medical insurance systems. Note I said “systems”. It is complicated. I see this with people turning 65 and facing Medicare. Many don’t read up on it or even understand the plans, etc until it’s time to choose coverage.

          And not only that it is complicated, you may find some form of plan that “fits” you, and then find out many doctors (even yours) or practices won’t accept it.

          One crime that I recall early on with the ACA, was when my daughter was faced with signing on to a plan here in Texas. With the ACA back then (maybe still now?), in order to “officially” sign onto a plan (bronze, silver, etc), you had to pick a doctor first. Well, my daughter did just that and once signed on went to see that doctor. Guess what? That doctor did not accept the coverage.

          Like Obama said, “you can keep your doctor”….LOL

        • Wolf Richter says:

          In states that tried to make Obamacare work rather than gut it, such as California, it works pretty well. Not perfect, but a lot better than nothing. States that tried to gut it, well, they gutted it and it become nearly dysfunctional.

    • Wolf Richter says:


      Yes, I think there is a lot to this. The old normal of looking at this is gone. People have changed. Priorities have changed.

      • Wes says:

        I agree Mr. Richter. I would say that people are finding out that there is more to life than materialism, maybe their time and how they use it has become a priority.

    • Depth Charge says:

      “Retirement” is a relatively new concept, and one that will not be possible for most. I plan on working until I die. I’m a Gen Xer.

      • Heinz says:

        “I plan on working until I die.”

        Then I feel sorry for you, and all the many folks who have the same retirement ‘plan’.

        Unfortunately, life is full of twists and turns and surprises show up at the most importune times. As a boxer famously said: “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth”.

        That ‘retirement’ plan only works if you (1) can find and keep job(s) as you are aging, until you keel over; 2) stay healthy and fit enough to work (mentally and physically) until you croak.

        Average hard-working bloke needs to realize that game of economic life is tilted against them big time these days– I actually consider it open but undeclared war against the little person by the elites who run the show.

        As George Carlin said: “It’s a big club and you ain’t in it”.

        • Depth Charge says:

          “Then I feel sorry for you, and all the many folks who have the same retirement ‘plan’.”

          Why would you? I like working, and I see retirement for the folly that it is. I will get Social Security, and already have six figures saved, which I will continue to add to over the course of the next 10+ years, but I have no plans to ever stop working.

          Nearly half of Baby Boomers have ZERO retirement savings. Like I said, “retirement” is a new concept which is not attainable for most. These people, like me, will be working until they die.

    • Whatsthepoint says:

      A close friend of mine’s husband was absolutely going to work until 67 until she had a heart attack last summer….after reevaluating priorities, he retired in February and loving every minute…

    • Happy1 says:

      Definitely true for many in their late 50s and early 60s. But data show many of the unemployed are not early retirees, they are people wisely choosing more UE money than after tax wages.

  23. MonkeyBusiness says:

    It’s always nice to see the same people talking about there being no penalty for lazy people.

    I tell you there’s no real reward for hard working people either. Any real reward in today’s economy accrue to the 0.1%. Why kill yourself making those guys richer?

    • El Katz says:

      “I tell you there’s no real reward for hard working people either.”


      • RightNYer says:

        Where have you been? You start a successful business? The government shuts it down, because you’re not “essential.”

        You want to raise money to expand? Well, you have to borrow at 12% minimum and sign a personal guarantee. But public corporations can float bonds at 4% that the Fed will implicitly buy.

        Don’t pretend that the America of the past is the America of today.

        • El Katz says:

          “Where have you been?”

          I have been right here.

          I can name multiple people (family and friends) who have prospered through hard work and failure. They then start over and keep at it until they get it right.

          This is where people (like those who ask where I’ve been) go wrong. Equal opportunity never provided a guarantee of equal outcome.

          If the government deemed a business “non-essential”, some of the more capable business people figured it out.

          Example: Governor Nuisance closed down a friend of mine’s wine bar. He converted to home delivery for his customers (he and his wife delivered it themselves) and managed to hang on through social media exposure and working his e-mail lists. He had built sufficient financial reserves to weather the storm (put off the Benz and the Rolex, despite being in business for 17 years). He worked with suppliers (the vineyards weren’t doing that well either with the restaurants closed down) and negotiated unheard of prices and passed those cost reductions on to his customers – saving them money all the while maintaining his profit margin. He kept his location (paid rent) and, now, has modified his model to include an outdoor patio area (converted parking lot – he did the work himself with the help of friends) to accommodate those who do not want to be inside. All this happened despite the fact that he sells nothing that can be purchased at a grocery store and not catering to the masses.

          I’m not pretending anything. I have about 10 stories of people (contractors, paving, IT, demolition, engineers, restaurateurs, artists…..) who figured it out when things collapsed around them. They could all have become victims if they so chose. The only guy that I know that got monkey hammered is one who has numerous rentals in and around Long Beach, CA. The mooches about bankrupted him by not paying their rent. He figured it out too.

          Not all hobbies convert into successful businesses. Been that way forever.

        • RightNYer says:

          El Katz, that isn’t the point. At one point in American hi8story, I would have agreed with you. But if you don’t think our modern capitalism is really crony capitalism, with the government picking winners and losers, I really don’t know what to tell you.

          Yes, people can do well. Yes, people who are innovative can survive or thrive by reinventing themselves.

          But that doesn’t change the fact that large public companies that can sell junk bonds to taxpayers at 4% have a huge advantage, and it makes the playing field not level.

      • OutsideTheBox says:

        Ok…..a one percenter has spoken !

    • Happy1 says:

      This is counter to every person I know in their late life experience. The hard workers with ambition have almost uniformly done well.

      • Happy1 says:

        I must also add the word frugal. Hard working frugal people almost cannot fail financially long term unless lose their health.

  24. Jdog says:

    The current situation is a deviation from the norm, created by ill advised government interference in the jobs market and the economy.
    This will eventually result in higher costs for corporations in conjunction with lower profits. This will in turn, eventually begin to effect the stock price which will effect the stock options of the CEO’s. At that point, the corporations will take the politicians to the woodshed and put an end to the government idiocracy that is causing the problem to begin with.

    • topcat says:

      Dear Jdog,
      The current situation, since roughly about 1980, is actually a return to the norm. The period of time between 1945 and 1970 was the exception, Driven by the Government sponsored and paid for GI bill and government investment in roads and infrastructure.

      I hand the mic to Robert Reich…….

      A half century ago America’s largest private-sector employer was General Motors, whose full-time workers earned an average hourly wage of around $50, in today’s dollars, including health and pension benefits.

      Today, America’s largest employer is Walmart, whose average employee earns $8.81 an hour. A third of Walmart’s employees work less than 28 hours per week and don’t qualify for benefits.

      • Texas23 says:


        I’m not a Walmart fan but jeez.

        From pays its employees an average of $13.11 an hour.

        What’s your source for $8.81?

        And how did that play out for the US auto manufacturers paying “$50/hr”?

  25. Micheal Engel says:

    1) Workers = 145M. US population = 331M. // Workers : US population ==> 145 : 331 = 44%. They need a jolt.
    2) The jolt came after Apr low, but in the last 8 report workers number is shortening the thrust.
    3) Businesses try to attract workers with new incentives, but workers became a bone in the throat, staying home, improving their odds.
    4) After shutting down for > a year, spending capex to adjust, operating at
    25%, 50% capacity, restaurants cannot find workers. Falling volume, higher cost will force small business to close.
    5) When unemployment benefits expire, workers will realize that
    many doors were shut, opportunities are gone, because they were arrogant, demanding, invincible.

    • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

      ME-good thing that those ‘arrogant, demanding, invincible’ AMERICAN CITIZENS are no longer needed for future soldiering to protect the interests of the non-soldiering classes (our previously assumed, and unmentioned societal bargain)…

      may we all find a better day.

  26. Michael Gorback says:

    I’m not sure the front end restaurant jobs are all that safe despite current high demand. Every time I go out to eat the bill gives me heartburn. I think others feel the same way. One of my favorite restaurants went out of business last week – in Texas where nobody cares about covid anymore.

    It seems to me that the bar does well but the restaurant section doesn’t.

    I just bought $135 worth of groceries today, which is about 3 meals for one person at the restaurants in my area excluding alcohol. I will eat many more meals at home for that amount of money, which included food for my dog that will last months. I mean the food, not my dog. I hope she’ll last more than a few months.

    • Clete says:

      @Michael: We operate the same way. I have the good fortune to have married an excellent cook, and we eat better while spending waaaaay less on food than most of our friends. We’re not anti-restaurant, just conscious of the value. We invite people over for dinner and for less than one person would spend at a good restaurant, we feed four, plus drinks, with better seating (and no rush), better music, and unlimited time to spend together.

      • Tony22 says:

        Clete, a 50 pound bag of high quality organic brown rice equals less than .25 a healthy serving. High quality organic frozen chicken, and even more so, turkey thighs, are cheap. Roast it, pour the juice in a jar, label date, refrigerate, use that as or add to pasta sauce a few days later.
        Food scraps+leaves and non-sprayed garden waste make a compost heap, a year later spread that around fruit trees, or filter it through 1/8″ screen to fertilize vegetables that self seed, like arugula. Plant garlic. Youtube videos on easy to grow veggies are numerous.
        This is part of the frugality and wealth building that some excellent gentlemen have commented on above.

        BTW, Wolf Richter, has facilitated the best comment trains I have ever seen in the last 25 years online, as far as economic reporting and a chance for citizens to speak their mind about what’s important. Don’t forget “How to donate.”
        Can you believe people actually send money to political parties, but forget the value of guys like him? No, I swear to god, I am not Wolf Richter!

    • Petunia says:


      If a well off doctor can’t afford eating out anymore, imagine the plight of those living on unemployment.

    • Swamp Creature says:

      Michael Gorback

      All my favorite restaurants either went out of business or cut the quality of the food and service to the point where I don’t go there anymore. We’ve been reduced to 2 places where they served basically English and Irish food. This is pretty boring diet as I was used to the Asian spicy food and Indian Vegetarian diet.

      Cooking at home much more not really to save money but because there is no other choice.

  27. SocalJim says:

    Workers are holding out for more money. A lot more money. This is an operating profit margin killer.

    And, if the employers are unwilling to pay a lot more money, they will not get workers. This one is a top line revenue killer.

    In either case, equities will suffer.

    Too many people have thrown in the towel because the country is screwed up. Why work and leave an estate for the next generation? These clowns just want to tax it away and redistribute it. The heck with that. Just quit and spend everything.

    • RES says:

      Equities will soar. That’s why they were invented.

      • Lisa_Hooker says:

        Equities were invented to raise capital for business ventures. Now they predominantly serve as tokens for speculation, like gold or Bitcoin.

    • MonkeyBusiness says:

      This is the US. When workers get more, they spend more. They will not get religion and suddenly save more.

      Americans spend. That’s just a fact of life.

      • historicus says:

        This entire generation has been taught not to save, been denied the ability to save and get a fair return.
        Courtesy of the Federal Reserve.
        Fed Funds, since 1954, have almost always equaled or exceeded inflation. That is a pretty good “norm’….from 1954 to 2009.
        Fed Funds should be around 3% now, based on the norm, based on the Taylor Rule.
        Then suddenly, the Fed decided a new norm….
        and organized a THEFT from the holders of dollars….perhaps the largest THEFT ever perpetrated…4% inflation with zero Fed Funds.
        And all by those who are allegedly bound to a mandate to promote “stable prices”.
        When does somebody get arrested for this arranged theft?

    • Petunia says:


      Just watched some videos on the Gaslamp District in your neck of the woods. Retail and hospitality looks totally wiped out. There are no jobs and no customers anywhere. Empty apt blocks everywhere. Tell us again how real estate is going to maintain its value in Southern CA.

      • MonkeyBusiness says:

        I just watched a YouTube video posted on May 15th, 2021 by
        4k Travel Tours. The Gaslamp District in San Diego looks to be absolutely hopping.

        This country is ready to roar.

  28. Swamp Creature says:

    “The heck with that. Just quit and spend everything.”

    The worst advice anyone could give a person. If you want to be quitter go ahead be that. Don’t give that advise to me. I’m not interested.

  29. simonyoosen says:

    We are in a generation or 2 heavily rely on foreign immigrants to take up whatever DIRTY JOBS that we don’t want. Instead, we like just doing easy work, talk on CNBC, Bloomberg to participate in the casino Wall Street. It comes into no surprise when HELICOPTER MONEY spread across the land, even those IMMIGRANTS decided just sitting at home.
    Enticing small pool of workers required pay rise that eventually eat into corporates profit margin. So, inflation is inevitable that will never reverse course. Worst of this inflation might causes commodities inflation that ravages the world where at one point, the DOLLAR will come into question.

    • historicus says:

      Latinos are one hard working group…

      did I just stereotype?

      • Heinz says:

        “did I just stereotype?”

        Yes, very badly, but good virtue-signalling attempt.

        Latinos are not more endowed with work ethic than other ethnic groups (but I do give high commendation to Asians as a group). Illegals especially either work or don’t eat.

        If they have attained legal residency with any perks that come with that I assume they are like most Americans with regard to work attitudes. And of course second generation children born here have our contemporary views on taking advantage of .gov transfer payments.

        • historicus says:

          “Good virtue signalling attempt”

          Did I say
          “Latinos are not more endowed with work ethic than other ethnic group”……nope. Good attempt at putting words in my mouth.
          There was a discussion about “dirty jobs”, and Latinos do those jobs where I live. Heinz, may I say that? Or am I being censored by your “virtue signalling”?

  30. Stephen C. says:

    Labor shortage thing is complicated, indeed. The new Biden Build Back better enabled California to dump a lot of new subsidy money to those who newly qualified for Obamacare. You might ask those waiters about that aspect.

    After being unemployed for 6 months in 2020 I was able to qualify for the healthcare subsidy. Before the pandemic my bill was $859 per month. (I am self employed so it is what it is, as they say.) It is now $157.

    So that makes me think twice and thrice before going back to working as much as I could, which would have me earning too much to continue to qualify me from the subsidy. (I’m close to retirement so the lower income won’t affect my social security much.)

    Although it is quite a challenge to add up all the advantages and disadvantages of working less, including the prospect of jumping back into a higher tax bracket.

    If the government was not involved in almost every aspect of life, these evaluations would be a hell of a lot easier. Life might be so uncomplicated I might even be able to contribute something positive to society.

  31. RightNYer says:

    I don’t want to take America back to the 1850s. But the 1950s? Absolutely! Or ideally, the 1910s, prior to the disastrous 19th Amendment.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Re-post it in the correct place, and when I see it, I’ll delete the original.

    • Wolf Richter says:


      In the 1950s, it would have been illegal in many states for me to marry the woman that I fell madly in love with and that I eventually married and am still married to after two decades, and that I adore and treasure more than ever. The 1950s sucked for anyone except for those that fit the mold. It took the SCOTUS decision in 1967 – Loving v. Virginia – to make mixed-race marriages legal in all states. And there is tons of stuff like that. So for many people today, the 1950s would be unimaginable hell.

      • Jdog says:

        And in many it was not….
        “As American interests led to increased American activity in the Pacific and Asia, brides of American men contributed heavily to bi-racial families. The American annexation of Hawaii, Philippines and wars in Japan, Korea, and Vietnam created both marriage and children. During the 1950s, Asian war brides were among the largest groups of Asian immigrants coming to the US.”

      • Depth Charge says:

        That’s very true, Wolf, but there are also things now which are an unimaginable hell as compared to the 1950s. Rents and house prices are just one example. What we need is a system that offers the best of both worlds. But pigmen would never let that happen.

        • MCH says:

          China? Ok… May be Singapore.

        • Heinz says:

          Agreed, because you can cherry pick any era and find the ills or blessings you are looking for and make the case that it was a living hell or happy times. Confirmation bias at work.

          But for me, I say unequivocally (and I am old enough to have something to compare it to), this current time and place is a living hell for most folks, even if they are not fully aware of it yet.

        • MCH says:


          The greatest trick the devil ever pulled is to make people think he didn’t exist.

          That Spacey line resonates more than ever today.

        • Auldyin says:

          I always ask anybody over 50 I meet, what’s your favourite decade? Leads to loads of conversation usually and quite often debates, sometimes quite heated.
          Great subject though, Wolf should run a special!

        • Shiloh1 says:

          For me it’s personal, not for everyone, but was great to be a teen in the 70s and twenties in the 80s. Different for my dad in the 30s/40s though.

        • NBay says:


          “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled is to make people think he didn’t exist?

          The reason it “resonates” in your mind is because it is totally circular reasoning….so I guess it just goes round and round and uses up a lot of brain cell time.

          Why don’t you just have a cup of cerebral cortex removed? You’d still have the same number of cells left to think with.

      • RightNYer says:

        Of course, not everything was all rosy, but in the 1950s, we had stable nuclear families. Crime was low. Traditional values were “valued.”

        Today, we have a mess whereby a huge percentage of children are raised by single parents, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg of our cultural and moral rot. Our financial decline, in my opinion, stems from that.

        • Winston says:

          Politics is downstream from culture. Combine a dumbed down citizenry where, for instance, civics is no longer taught in schools with politicians who are effectively owned by multinational corporations with no allegiance whatsoever to the US, just an eye on its markets and the 1.4 billion potential consumers in China with a “woke” culture budding from 60 years of pseudo-intellectual Postmodernism spewed in our universities and you see how we’ve gotten exactly where we’re at.

        • Swamp Creature says:

          I’d take the 1950’s over this crap today anytime.

        • Phil says:

          Ask black folks if they want to go back to a time when they couldn’t eat in the same restaurant. Ask women if they like the idea of a time when you couldn’t get divorced with basically being ostracized. Ask gay folks if they liked living in the shadows. I’m shocked, shocked I say that there are old white guys pining for that time. Some people never grow up and realize the world doesn’t stop at the end of their noses, or are just too heartless to even care about it. Thank god we moved past that idea of “freedom, just for my kind.”

        • RightNYer says:

          And now, white men are told that they’re evil for their skin color and gender. It seems that the issue was not with unfairness, but with whose ox was being gored.

        • fajensen says:

          I Think my daughter is bringing up the grandkids just fine.

      • Michael Gorback says:

        The 50s looked happy but it wasn’t happy for most. It was postwar prosperity due to being the last major economy that wasn’t in tatters.

        It was a very repressed society. Even the Ozzie and Harriet families were repressed by having to fit the heterosexual WASP ideal. Simply being a heterosexual WASP wasn’t enough. There were rules to follow.

        On the Dick van Dyke show that debuted in 1961 Rob and Laura slept in separate single beds, armored in full length pajamas. That’s how America was portrayed.

        This was captured in the opening theme song of All in the Family.

        Boy the way Glenn Miller played
        Songs that made the hit parade.
        Guys like us we had it made,
        Those were the days.

        And you knew who you were then,
        Girls were girls and men were men,
        Mister we could use a man
        Like Herbert Hoover again.

        Didn’t need no welfare state,
        Everybody pulled his weight.
        Gee our old LaSalle ran great.
        Those were the days.

        • Swamp Creature says:

          Please don;t quote anything from that horse sh$t show “All in the Family”

        • NoPrep says:

          Agree. There was “TV Happy”. The Honeymooners. A whole lot of leftover WW2 battle trauma marked the psyche of the 50s era. In the US and, even more, so across the ocean. When some of that started to lift, for some growing up, the hippie counterculture arrived. But you had to have bourgeois money to be a hippie, and the parents had to tolerate you freeloading with their funds, to go and have a peace and love gap year in 67 or 68. There was no foundation for a changed society.

          Of course a lot of great music came out of the era. Alas, a protest song from Phil Ochs never did change a politicians’ mind about anything.
          (incidentally Jimi, and Jim Morrison, and a few others like those guys, were not really hippies-they were creative freaks..big difference! Though Robert Plant claims to be a old hippie and does kind of look the part)

        • NBay says:

          No Prep,

          I don’t know where you get your info, but I was on Haight St spring 66 to spring 67, the short and best time (there was NO summer of love, just meth dealers with guns kicking down doors and homeless young “pilgrims” all over the place, that’s why so many split for the communes). True, a lot of that brief unsustainable time was funded by members or the Beat Generation who came into money, Keasy and Ginsberg were the most visible ones around there daily, and whoever was supporting the Diggers, Coyote, etc.
          But most had nothing. I was kicked out of the house when the old man saw I was flunking out of JC, and we sure weren’t “bourgeois”, some may have been, but not most.

          More than a political or economic movement it was a social movement, driven by people SICK of the VERY restrictive “every bodily function is nasty, along with many behaviors, even long hair on guys” religious and regimented ethics of our youth. Ex: “toilet” could not be said or shown on TV. Was referred to as “bathroom bowl” in commercials. Mindless consumption driven by TV ads was also seen as stupid and wasteful.

          But we did succeed in blowing the HELL out of all that stupid religious/restrictive crapp. and I’m proud of the FREEDOM from that shit people now have today and being a part of proving all those restrictions on people’s experience of our humanity totally stupid.

          We did fail miserably at getting wasteful mindless consumption across, however, but advertising was and is a big and powerful force.

        • NBay says:

          Just one more note on all this “parental” money we were supposed to have. Yeah, the Diggers may have been able to buy 50 bags of brown rice and feed people, but most of us who just drifted from crash pad to crash pad had zero money. And for all the “drug” talk, far and away the most consumed drug there was Red Mountain Burgundy, $1.49/gal. Pan handle that and 4 people could party. Food? Most common thing was shoplifting Bisquick and butter, easy, fry patties up in butter and garnish with butter. And free big name concerts in the panhandle….it all was tons of fun.

          Don’t even ATTEMPT to conflate your modern day “lazy stupid” kid bashing with our scene, No Prep….no comparison.

        • Lisa_Hooker says:

          At the end of the 1960’s American youth had public political dissent, drugs, sex, and rock and roll. Nothing has been the same since.

      • Swamp Creature says:


        None of this was true in the NY area where I grew up. May have been true in the Bible belt. Varied from state to state.

      • Happy1 says:

        This applies to me as well.

        But couldn’t we have the civil rights benefits of today with the stable nuclear families and personal responsibility of the 50s? Like Japan?

        • RightNYer says:

          Civil rights, to a point. If civil rights means “equality under the law,” sure. If it means quota representation, affirmative action, people making excuses for bad behavior, constant racial pandering, and so forth, then count me out.

        • Jdog says:

          Civil rights today? We have less rights today than we have ever had in history. Most people do not really care about rights, what they really want is a free ride…. on someone else’s dime.

        • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

          Right-flash back to the late 1800’s and the governmental/political decisions allowing the institution of ‘Jim Crow’ over the following four generations. ‘Equality under the law’ indeed.

          The package of ‘answers’ instated after that time, were, imho, panic-based, and not well-considered, strictly to answer Soviet propaganda (based, nevertheless in reality-much as the contemporary Russian government does with its propaganda today) showing the slip of our national hypocrisy to a world adrift following the inferno of WWII.

          We’ve had the chance to practice/truly enforce ‘equality under the law’ for some time, now. Living up to the Constitution for EVERY citizen remains a long, hard, continuing paddle upstream against what appears to be a not-easily altered, often ugly, human nature.

          may we all find a better day.

      • NBay says:

        It certainly was “unimaginable hell” for Black folks in the Jim Crow South, and elsewhere where they had been forced into ghettos through economics and often “law”.

        When the rioting started in the 60’s-70’s, I recall many older white folks saying, “What are they so mad about?”, and “Why are they burning their own neighborhoods?”.
        They were right about one thing, they should have been burning white neighborhoods. Then MLK wouldn’t have had to work so hard to force our noses into it through the previously indifferent media Corps.

        • Lisa_Hooker says:

          Thinking ahead and traveling to white neighborhoods requires too much effort. It’s difficult to fight natural tendencies.

      • whatbubble says:


        In my family substitute gender and sexual orientation for race. Flashing back to my childhood in the 1980’s would be a nightmare I can’t image surviving the 1950’s. Happy Pride!

    • VintageVNvet says:

      SO sorry to hear that from you rnyr:
      Where I was in late 1940s, all of 1950s, and early 1960s in several very rich areas of SWFL,, it was OK to be WASPY,,, not so good for anyone else,, anyone else of any other color, religion, and we don’t even want to think about any other kind of what is now called ”gender identity” etc., etc.
      IF one minute late, dad had to take the wonderful older black lady, who worked in our home and could walk to her home in 10 minutes,
      home in the car because she could not be on the streets after dark,, even one minute!! When we moved farther away, she could not even get on the bus after dark!
      Any black person on the streets after dark or anytime Sunday was subject to beating and if caught ”out” again, immediate death..
      It was a very sorry time in the USA,,, and I would NOT want that,,, and I really don’t think YOU would want that era again.
      ( And, to be sure, even as a YOUNG white boy, I was scared to drive through GA and many of the other SE USA states even up to the mid 1960s, in case some totally arbitrary event ended with me being beaten severely or dead — and it damn sure happened, with NO consequences to the cops doing it… )

      • Lisa_Hooker says:

        Yup, I remember being scared as hell in the late ’60s and early ’70s driving through Chicago’s south and near west sides in the early evening. Drive around Cabrini Green after 22:00? Not a chance.

  32. drifterprof says:

    My perspective on people not working has changed since retiring a few year ago. I used to fume about things like the single mother renting a house across the street (in Colorado), who got more government money by having children from different fathers. The children from each father are considered a different family somehow, and the woman gets an extra welfare premium for having had children from multiple fathers. Often results in a terribly uneducated, uncouth, ignorant menagerie!

    But I can relate to some people not going back to work. I had thought I might work a little after retirement, but there are too many everyday tasks to do, and hobbies to pursue, as well as needed health activities.

    Additionally, going back to work in a world of predatory managers and asshat suck-ups is stressful and detrimental to one’s long term health. Sometimes its not a bad idea to be on a break from the work world and strategize how one can pursue the least dysfunctional bureaucratic environment possible.

    • Eastwind says:

      Agree with you about retirement – I got laid off at 54 in 2015 and decided I had enough that I didn’t need to put myself through the interviewing BS again. I had 30 years experience as a coder but the software companies are all heavy into age discrimination and politically correct work environments and (at the time) jamming everyone into one big loud room [covid sure fixed that stupid idea].

      Once you taste the freedom of retirement, unless you need the money, you aren’t going back to the BS merry-go-round. Work has been made entirely too annoying and political. Supposedly a meritocracy, silicon valley is anything but. Even a six-figure salary with health benefits simply wasn’t worth it to me, because I had enough. Enough money and enough of them.

      So part of the issue is the toxic workplace cultures that everyone who needs the money must endure. Take people out of that suddenly and they realize just how bad it was (reverse frog in pot experience). Given them a financial way to avoid it and they’ll gladly embrace some other plan – working for themselves, freelancing, whatever.

    • Michael Gorback says:

      I retired in February and I absolutely agree. Yesterday a friend and I (combined age 136 yrs) assembled a large book case with glass doors.

      My back is killing me today. Old enough to have free time, a bit old to use it. But when life gives you lemons, add sugar and vodka and make limoncello.

      If I ever work again it will not be in medicine. At present I’m thinking about a business making hunting knives with antler handles. Medicine was good while lasted, but there’s something to be said for work that results in being able to see the tangible results of your labor – something that didn’t exist before you made it. The physical manifestation of your mind.

    • Heinz says:

      “Additionally, going back to work in a world of predatory managers and asshat suck-ups is stressful and detrimental to one’s long term health. Sometimes its not a bad idea to be on a break from the work world and strategize how one can pursue the least dysfunctional bureaucratic environment possible.”

      I had to put up with office politics, backstabbing, and petty irritations all through my career, as do most people. I call it the school of hard knocks and I got over it. It is what it is.

      Today’s younger gens have been taught though that bullies, disappointments in competition, and perceived micro aggressions are to be stamped out and safe places replace them.

      Many are truly living in a fairy tale world.

      • Tom Pfotzer says:

        Or, they might kick the bullies’ az.

        If they decide to do that, well, I’m on their side.

        Mean people suck.

      • fajensen says:

        Who cares?

        If a bunch of idiots fight to their deaths over tribal stuff, very little is lost, in my opinion.

        I just prefer not to be mixed up in it at all and I will keep working from home, ideally until “The Severance Package” arrives – my guess between August and December, based on the increasing background level of harassment from management.

        I got home brewed beer and popcorn, for the office bitch-fight-show. I have a paid-up home I can go live in. I have things to do for people when I need money. The pig-pen we call “Work” can screw right off.

  33. Tom says:

    Reading these comments I’m wondering who are these people? Who are these couch potato stimulus leeches everyone is complaining about? My wife and I worked through the pandemic without skipping a beat. Our daughter, 27 was laid off and found new work within a week, and hasn’t vegetated like the supposed mass of freeloaders. I live in a small rural town and it seems like everyone is working. There’s a buzz of renovation by house flippers, some new construction, farmers are busy, people are pretty much on the treadmills.

    I know a few manufacturing workers- they’re busy and their pay keeps going up, but again, constrained by supply chain. Also restaurants are just now reopening, but people are still a little reluctant to dine out even with the vaccines… and the idiots who won’t take vaccines – who wants to wait on morons like that.

    I’m lucky my wife and I made just a shade over what you can make to have gotten any stimulus. (~250K) Still I see abundant forms of stimulus going to business owners, PPP loans they won’t pay back, Agricultural programs and Trump money for farmers for whatever it was with tariffs, checks galore, incredible largesse and I paid almost 60K in taxes and qualify for nothing. Finally, as a prudent saver I’m really starting to itch and worry about the other even more evil tax- Inflation. So I’m lucky and grateful but still watching with disgust, wondering what’s next.

    • Janna says:

      Something is definitely wrong with our current state of affairs. I live in the South. We have been wide open for months now. We have very low unemployment, but things are not normal. We have factories shutting down for days waiting on parts. We have fast food closing their dining rooms because they can’t find enough workers. Our community pool can only find lifeguards for 3 days a week. We have lived here 9 years and they have never been short on lifeguards. Usually these jobs pay well and are filled with college students. At the same time as labor and supply shortages, our local food banks are begging for donations.

  34. historicus says:

    So the Fed keeps rates at zero to promote employment…
    and the federal govt borrows that free money and pays people to stay home….
    So the Fed sees the bad employment numbers and keeps rates at zero…
    to promote employment…
    and round and round we go……
    a cul du sac of idiocy…

    • Old school says:

      Yep. It seems like printing money the last 20 years is causing us not to face reality. I can only assume central planners thought it was a good idea to ship manufacturing out of USA and print money to enlarge the safety net to mop up the consequences.

      Problem with that plan is the rewards and costs are so uneven.

      Read a good article about how real progressives are only about 10% of population. Vast majority of population aren’t into being woke, skin color or global warming. We have practical things to worry about like food, shelter, transportation and taking care of our family.

      • Tom Pfotzer says:

        O.S.: I agree that we’re not facing reality, but I can’t go along with your (apparent) assertion that social justice and environmental concerns are impractical.

        I think those things are vital, and they’re especially vital if you’ve been on the receiving end of unfairness for generations, or are evaluating what it’ll be like when Earth’s operational processes break down.

        How can a person believe in the team when the rules are unfair? This is the psychological crisis that young people are facing now.

        The U.S. has espoused some great ideals in the past. We actually did do some very cool things. “Liberal” used to mean stuff like “rule of law” and “trial by peers” and “bill of rights”, and “all men are created equal”. We even tried to build the Great Society.

        That’s what “liberal” used to mean, and it was in contra-example to the Divine Right of Kings (for ex, plenty of other good examples). We did some very advanced social evolution. Very hot stuff.

        So, I’m hoping we continue to re-invent ourselves, and find better ways to play as a team. I don’t necessarily want to Make America Great, what I want is for each American to become Great. Big diff.

        Younger generations: however good our team gets is going to be decided by you. It’s coming. What are your ideas, and what are you going to do to make them a reality?

        • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

          Tom P.-a sublimely thoughtful and eloquent response to O.S., much more than mine…

          may we all find a better day.

        • historicus says:

          “liberal” … the classic liberal, would be interested in facts, logic and reason.
          Now, “liberal” is a label people seek to achieve some automatic fake intellectual status. Denying the opposite point of view, and refusing debate are not earmarks of liberal behavior….classical liberal behavior. Those people are something other, and not in a good way.

      • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

        OldS-…and the vast majority of lemmings go over the cliff…

        may we all find a better day.

  35. Winston says:

    Hmm, looks like Universal Basic Income will work as well as anyone with knowledge of human nature, which definitely does not include those with dreams of a socialist utopia, would expect. It will work just as well as welfare has worked.

    • Realist says:

      There’s this old Soviet era joke:

      You pretend to pay us, we pretend to work.

    • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

      Winston-who, or what, has ever successfully managed ANY kind of surplus long-term (in this case, human labor)?

      may we all find a better day.

    • fajensen says:

      However, not having any kind of welfare is what gives places like Brazil or Somalia that unique diversity in gore videos.

  36. Bead says:

    I am enjoying reading all the things people won’t do for money. No Karens please. We are Romans ordering whatever we want, sitting on top of the world.

    • Realist says:

      Bead has a point there. The USSA resembles in a lot of ways the Roman empire during the first decades of the 5th century.

      Bread and circuses worked nice until the grain shipments from north Africa and the Imperial estates in Egypt dried up ….

      And when control was lost over the armaments industry in Illyria ….

  37. Micheal Engel says:

    1) The FAANG, no shortages for them. Only one layoff : the former president.
    2) Old, wily and bold. Useless nerds with too much cash. Tax the FANG instead of normal people who labor in their job, for loving the new gov.
    3) NDX bull trap. Larger bar, lower volume. RSI bearish territory. Stopped by May 7 fractal zone. Effort results : May 7 & May 26 : the Dr. indicate potential troubles.
    4) BC/AR Jan 25/29. Apr 29 : an UT after distribution.
    5) Down 1,106.30 from the top. Up 816.59 to LPSY.
    6) Targets to Sept 2/3 fractal zone, to build a nice triangle.
    7) A positive bias : a jump to a new all time high.

  38. Work X says:

    People don’t work because the workplace is toxic. Bad employers will go out of business. Good employers will thrive. The deadbeat losers will always whine, complain, and blame their employees. As is pointed out in the article, there is a vast surplus of labor in the United States. But because of poor working conditions and the shedding of employees over the age of 55 no one that can afford to not work will work.

    • Sailor says:

      The bad employers burned a lot of bridges with the way they’ve treated people, especially the over 50s.

  39. Island Teal says:

    Good article and as always amazed on how the comments swirl around the original topic.
    The solution for “living in the 50’s” is time transport. Where’s the professor when you need him ??

  40. Sailorgirl says:

    Yesterday on FB Market Place and add was posted by the Florida Inland Navigational District for a job as a Bridge Operator. The jobs was 4 days on 4 days off. 6am to 2Pm and then 2PM until 10 PM the next day and repeat. The wage was $10.50 to start and then $11 after 90 days. The posting was for two bridges in Jupiter one on demand and the other on half hour opening schedule. No mention of health insurance or vacation. 32 hours per week. The one requirement was that you need to live close by in case you were needed in an emergency. This job paid a lousy $1344/month. These are busy bridges with traffic both sailboat and flying bridge sport fishing and luxury yachts. A cheap rental is more than $1300 and you would get kicked out for the “season”. I am happy that after Covid people are saying no more to non livable wages.

    • Anthony A. says:

      At 32 hours a week means no benefits. This looks like a job for a person over 65 on Medicaid with some SS but not enough to live on from day to day and maybe living in his car. Sounds great!

      • Petunia says:

        I wish I was surprised by this ad, but I’m not. In south Florida, the richer they are, the worse they behave.

        Jupiter is one of the richest communities in the world. You would think they would pay their servants well, but you would be wrong.

      • Petunia says:

        Wolf & AA,

        This comment reminded me that a few days ago, I saw a commercial on Utube for a car. The big selling point for the small SUV was, it could accommodate a mattress in the back that sleeps two. I was so stunned, I can’t even remember the brand of the car. A not so subtle sign of the times.

    • David Hall says:

      Sit all day and watch the sailboats. Great job for a retiree. Florida does not pay school teachers much either.

      • Petunia says:

        Best paying jobs in FL are, police, fire/rescue, and local politicians.

        • roddy6667 says:

          Did all the coke dealers get laid off?

        • Petunia says:


          In FL drug dealers are independent business people in the pharmaceutical industry.

        • Sailorgirl says:

          You are so right. The only requirement for a job as a PO in Florida including my upscale town is a HS Diploma or GED and graduation from a “Police Academy”. Starting salary 56k. Almost 20k more than teachers. Something is wrong with this dynamic. A car accident on surface streets will be responded by two fire trucks, two county first responder ambulances and 5-7 PO to direct traffic. Meanwhile the real people at risk are students and teachers in the classroom.

  41. Think maybe we need a national labor agency, to help retrain and relocate workers. When the system works no one would need it, when you have a crisis the programs kick in.

    • Jdog says:

      Yes, that is definitely what we need, another government agency. The government is always does such a competent job….

      • NBay says:

        Yeah, right……as everyone knows Private Industry people out to get rich always have your best interests in mind, and of course are more efficient, since their only mission is to minimize what they pay for labor or materials.

        Don’t you get sick of blaming ours/your effort at democracy, or are you just totally programmed to hate all government now, while waiting for the trickle down?

        If you are just trolling, you win, got a response out of me.

        • OutsideTheBox says:


          That guy hasn’t figured out that the REAL people to hate are the businessmen ( and they are men )
          who OWN & CONTROL the government.

          These businessmen will kill and destroy anything thats stands between them and their profits.

          Private industry is overrated and overpraised. It is so flawed and depraved yet so praised.

    • Sailor says:

      Government retraining agencies do not retrain employees with the correct skills, they just act as guaranteed jobs for the trainers and admin.
      The only training that works is when the companies themselves provide it, because their profits depend on the quality of output of the training scheme.
      Then, to retain their trainees, the companies would be forced to treat them well and pay them properly.
      And when you consider all the faults with existing companies, you can see that forcing them to train their own employees is the solution to all of that.

  42. Cynical Engineer says:

    It’s not just that a portion of the workforce has stopped working: The Federal government has spent the last four years on the warpath against immigrants. Legal immigration (H1B, etc) was almost completely halted. DHS has conducted a full-scale reign of terror against immigrants, deporting 10’s of thousands, and likely convincing many more to pack up and leave.

    Those workers are gone and they are unlikely to return. Nobody seems to have a plan for how they will be replaced.

    • Jdog says:

      The purpose of immigration is and always has been about lowering wages. It is a windfall for corporations, and a disaster for workers. Of course the corporations can legally bribe the government employees, so their interests always come before the American Citizens as a whole….

      • RightNYer says:

        Not to mention the cultural disaster from having so many low skill immigrants in one place, at one time.

      • Sailorgirl says:

        That person is not living in my community because they can not afford too. Walmart and McDonalds pay more! Around here on the intercostal it is a serious job. You cannot drop the span on 400k+ boats.

  43. SocalJim says:

    I know a lot of professionals who are walking away.

    Up until recently, you were promoted based on your education, skills and hard work. No more. Now, physical characteristics, race, or gender now determine promotions. HR departments have made this corporate policy.

    So, many of this nation’s corporate thought leaders, most who have big nesteggs from successful careers, are calling it quits because they are not in the favored demographic. Smart people will not put up with this treatment.

    What a disaster for corporate America.

    • Wolf Richter says:


      People with knowledge, experience, a network, a plan, and some resources can often start their own shop, and then they’re the boss. You appear to be on that program, I am on that program, lots of people are. These people can be very productive outside the corporate framework — maybe more productive than before. I see that as a benefit.

    • Beardawg says:


      I agree with your observations. If you watch TV, whether commercials or programming, it is rare to see a Caucasian actor buying the new car, registering with an investment advisor or even buying kitchen or bath products, even though Caucasians still represent the majority “race” in the USA.

      Had a discussion with a friend about this and though it is non-representative of reality, we understand the importance of a successful and poz image for minorities.

      The side effect of these image policies in our media and workplaces has been a partial dismissal of knowledge and experience. This “reset” of sorts is just a reality. It explains many older folks checking out.

      Spoke with a 23 year old acquaintance recently who did not mince her words. She said Boomers (she thought I was a Gen X) just need to die. I think Boomers and maybe some X’ers will appropriately get out of the way soon so the reset can move ahead.

      • Tom Pfotzer says:

        “Hope I die before I get old!”

        Who sang that lyric? (that was a clue).

        This antipathy toward older boat-anchors has been around as long as I have, and that’s a while. And you can’t really blame the younger generations for seeing the boomers as consumptive and selfish. A lot of them are.

        Several years ago, when the first waves of the incoming tide of resentment toward whites, and white men especially…began breaking on the beach, I said to myself “this is gonna go on for a long time. Maybe a few decades, more likely a few generations”.

        There’s a lot of structural change needs doing, roles moving about, status, pay-for-performance, respect to be sought out by the previously shut-out….this is going to take a long while to re-establish an equilibrium.

        My parents raised me right, so I have relatively little to atone for.

        Since I don’t feel guilty, I’m not willing to serve as pin-cushion for people’s built-up angst. I understand why it’s there, but “not all white people look the same”. I avoid people that aren’t willing to evaluate me on the basis of my behavior.

        About that TV…as all WS readers already know, media is paid for by advertisers, and advertisers manipulate. They use fear, jealousy, emotional insecurities of all type to force the viewer to give them money.

        It’s what they do, and they’re good at it.

        So I don’t give them the chance to contaminate my mind. I watch almost no TV, and tho I read a great deal, I don’t visit mainstream media outlets except to glance at the headlines to see what the current propaganda vectors are.

        • Petunia says:

          I’m fine with the aged politburo in DC going away, but I didn’t vote to keep them there, the young ones did.

        • RightNYer says:

          The anger and resentment continues because whites tolerate it. Our entire society is sitting on a powder keg.

        • kitten lopez says:

          “I’m fine with the aged politburo in DC going away, but I didn’t vote to keep them there, the young ones did.”

          the young ones are the old rigid ossified ones. it’s astounding fascinating terrifying… horrifying.. then morphing into Vonnegut’s shrug “and so it goes.”


      • Heinz says:

        “Had a discussion with a friend about this and though it is non-representative of reality, we understand the importance of a successful and poz image for minorities.”

        When news broke recently that United Airlines announced they were focusing on diversity rather than merit-based hiring of pilots.

        They tweeted: “Our flight deck should reflect the diverse group of people on board our planes every day. That’s why we plan for 50% of the 5,000 pilots we train in the next decade to be women or people of color.”

        Hiring on basis of color or gender is supposed to be illegal.

        So, if they are putting any pilots in the cockpit that got there based first on ethnicity or gender— and as an afterthought skills, ability, judgement, and experience I would never fly with them.

        • Sailor says:

          Many smaller and foreign airlines have for many years been putting people in cockpits for bad reasons, including family connections, gender, and especially the willingness to accept very poor work schedules and wages (e.g. Colgan Air 3407). These do directly cause fatal accidents. We are now at the stage where the automatics can avoid many problems that used to cause accidents, but when the automatics themselves fail the pilots can be completely incapable of taking over (e.g. Air France 447).
          People seem to think aircraft are not fully automated yet, but if the people up front wearing wings on their shirts aren’t proper pilots and can’t handle an automatics failure, then they are.

      • Tony22 says:

        “it is rare to see a Caucasian actor buying the new car, registering with an investment advisor or even buying kitchen or bath products, even though Caucasians still represent the majority “race.”
        Note to advertisers:
        All those minority illustrated catalogues go straight to the recycling bin next to the mail boxes. You should do it too.

        • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

          Tony22-huh? SO WHAT? What next, ‘quotas’ for ACTORS in
          private-firm advertising? (Guess what?-ads of ANY type effect on company revenues are closely studied-if they aren’t resulting in financial/brand benefit to the advertiser, they disappear. If they ARE seen to be helping the bottom line, well , i’d advise you to: ‘…forget it Jake, it’s Chinatown…’.

          may we ALL find a better day.

    • Robert says:

      Ultimately we have too many people chasing after a shrinking set of lucrative opportunities. The wealth of this country is being concentrated into fewer and fewer hands, and therefore if you don’t know your fields select power brokers, or conform to their expectations of you then you can kiss any independence goodbye.

      People are all very different and having thousands of types of backgrounds only works if you have hundreds of unique opportunities to exploit.

      We’re in a global ice age for the individual. You’re either a polar bear or a seal, nothing else exists because nothing else can survive the frigid group-think of the 1%. Too bad, since individuality is what allowed Americans to conquer the frontier.

      But the frontier is long gone and America is transforming into a Chinese bureaucracy of old.

      • Tom Pfotzer says:

        Robert: yes, indeed, the latitude to be an individual, to think for yourself and act on your conclusions is currently diminishing.

        The concentration of wealth, and concentration of control over what people see and hear … and think .. is the prime culprit.

        A lot of us will go down with the ship; we’ll be lulled to sleep, and never make a break for shore.

        Hopefully, a lot more will find a way to dis-entangle themselves from the Machine, and build a life and an identity that makes them glad to jump out of bed in the AM.

        People are doing it. I think WFH is a leading indicator, just for ex.

        • SocalJim says:

          If this country decides not to promote it’s best and brightest into leadership roles because of skin color or gender, then the US will cease to exist.

          Countries that promote their best and brightest will own the future.

        • The country didn’t decide not to promote these people, while there are hundreds of qualified personnel, they decided to open up the process. The politics of resentment was last year.

    • Auldyin says:

      I got the option of a ‘golden handshake’ of cash and extended pension at 53 for backing ‘stay small’ in one of those ‘bigger is better’ re-organisations. After a high stress working life with too many bozos, the freedom of freetime is a priceless treasure which I wish I had pursued even earlier.

    • kitten lopez says:


      you made me smile because you (along with Wolf) have hit on what i’ve been recently saying: that white men are being forced to leave corporate situations but ironically will start new things (like Wolf) that are the new, innovative, necessary (must be to survive without corporate GAAP accounting)– basically lean and pretty like Wolf himself even is!

      so white guys are gonna leave and start NEW things because they’re pariahs and no one’s gonna give ’em low interest loans or grants and they’ll be the source of new interesting relevant and solvent ventures, while everyone else in the alphabet soup piles into the increasingly bloated bureaucratic corporations and refine their skills to increasingly irrelevant abstract corporate baboon culture.

      Work-from-Home for a corporation already smells like mass impotence and incompetence to me, as most innovation will be about avoiding oversight, fluffing up abstract stories of success, creating layers of new ways to hide incompetence or defer results and muddy stats.

      i see this exodus of talent as a benefit for Reality because truly interesting creative people never really truly “retire.” and thank heavens. that’s why i also believe in a sort of small renaissance among the death rot and decline, in this bifurcated confusing everything.


      • Read “Take Today, The Executive as Dropout,” by McLuhan and Nevitt, 1972 and fresh as ever.

      • Auldyin says:

        You’ll love the late,great David Graeber’s book”Bulls**t Jobs”

      • OutsideTheBox says:

        ” Truly interesting creative people “……are vanishingly few in actual numbers.

        The rest of us non-creatives appreciate your contributions.

        • kitten lopez says:

          thanks, Outside the Box.
          your very name is a definition of creativity in case you hadn’t noticed. (smile)

          and thanks for the book recommendations above youse two. gonna put library holds on them right now…


      • Lisa_Hooker says:

        Inspiring thoughts Kitten. But if I come out of retirement I’m going to self-identify as a black, lesbian, transvestite, muslim, immigrant, paraplegic. So I can work within the system, don’cha know. A six-fer is the answer to an HR flunkies’ prayer.

  44. Dave says:

    I look forward to the coming purge! I have my list.

    • historicus says:

      I believe the Fed has suspended free market principles by edict.
      Fed Fund 4% below inflation
      Massive debt creation courtesy of monthly and unnecessary QE.
      Removing fixed income and the ability for people to SAVE their way onto their financial feet.
      Supply/Demand price discovery in the debt market Skewed beyond credulity by Fed machinations.
      All these actions interrupt the free market and the cost of debt creation.

      • Tom Pfotzer says:

        Yes, of course all that is correct, H.

        Here – yet again – is another annoying “thought experiment”:

        you have a magic wand. You realize that the _capacity_ to create wealth is extremely concentrated in the hands of the few, and the _effect_ is to concentrate wealth into the hands of the few.

        This is unfair to ask of you, H, but you’re smart, and you’ve got the chops to take a run at it.

        Now, whattaya do? If your mission is to keep the most people the most well-off, what is your policy?

        You understand why deflation is happening, and you know the Fed et. al. is paddling massively to inject inflation to keep the balloon aloft.

        So, let’s quit beating around the bush. This is the core econ prob facing us all, and it’s been with us for centuries. Fed’s flummoxed, and so’s everyone else.

        Take aim, and deliver a whack.

        • historicus says:

          ” If your mission is to keep the most people the most well-off, what is your policy?”

          That’s a curious premise. Is it the mission of the Fed, or the government, to “keep” the most people well off, or is it to provide a fertile environment, and then rely on the motivation of people in a capitalistic society to then provide goods and services to keep/make themselves “well off”, and to the degree they aspire?
          Our system used to rely on the “invisible hand”, that when people attempted to raise themselves up by providing better goods or services, not only do they themselves rise, but the entire economy and society benefits.
          Feathering beds is not the duty of the Fed.
          So that is my policy, and add in a return of the ability of people to SAVE their way to financial stability with a FAIR and historically normal rate of return.

          “You understand why deflation is happening, ”
          I’ve never seen Deflation, and no one except those who lived in the 1930s have seen it either. Dips or brief retracements in inflation do make deflation any more than a down day in stocks makes for a Bear Market.
          “History is the history of nations debasing their currency.” Hayek. And he was dead right, and never more right than right now.

  45. Micheal Engel says:

    1) SPX Corp profit (!GAAP) = 96.19. // P/E (!PESPX) = 44.93.
    2) Labor shortages and higher commodities will shave corp profit.
    3) A positive bias : SPX will rise to a new all high @4,500.
    4) The bubble is getting crazier, WTF : 4,500 : 92.5 profit ==>
    PE = 48.65.
    5) JP preempt, prick the bubble to stabilize the market, before it’s too late, before it’s out of hand.
    6) That’s not unusual. In the first 1Y-2Y new presidents might decide to cut fat, blame the other side, blame the former president.
    7) The smart money was prepared, as the bond market indicate, but when the rest will woke too late.
    8) The whales have their secret targets, but we don’t know where they are.

  46. Sierra7 says:

    “It’s with businesses in heavy and civil engineering construction, where employment fell by 5,500 and with specialty trade contractors, where employment fell by 19,300.”
    Personal friend owner and operator of medium sized Silicon Valley construction business (pipe-fitters; commercial sprinkler fitters), in business for many decades. They never have had so many professional, trained fitters “on the bench”; i.e.: laid off.

    Another anecdote:
    Several articles ago I mentioned that the housing market in a particular place along the Highway 152 corridor between San Luis Dam and US99 being “on fire”. My daughter put her home for sale purchased more than 20 years ago and upgraded and was in great condition…….sold in 3 days above asking. Out where in the summer when descending the San Luis Dam decline into the “valley” your head literally lights on fire like a matchstick because of the weather!!!!

    • cas127 says:


      A post on the specifics of construction unemployment might be valuable…as indicated, there are numerous tracked types of construction and numerous tracked specialties within it.

      It is kinda weird to see general residential construction employment go up even as specialty trade construction goes down.

      Possible (construction goes in phases) but weird (national aggregate stats tends to blend away phase effects).

      And residential construction employment should be a sentinel indicator since housing prices (a function of supply) have been rising aggressively over the last two decades (boom bust boom) even as overall employment growth has been notably anemic over the same multi decade period.

      I wonder if the gvt expenditure surveys capture the dynamic of rising housing costs and stagnating employment/incomes.

  47. Micheal Engel says:

    G-7 : min corp tax : 15%.

    • historicus says:

      impossible to implement.
      Who gets the money?
      This is just one more globalization effort…
      Who’s doing the accounting?
      Who’s writing the 2000 page document laying this all out?

  48. roddy6667 says:

    In this discussion group (pre-COVID) there was much chatter about the downfall of the malls. It was pointed by myself and others that America has 4X the retail square footage of some European countries. I see restaurants fitting into this overbuilding debacle. The pandemic has permanently removed a substantial percentage of dining establishments from the landscape. IMHO, this reversion to the mean is necessary and healthy.

    • Wolf Richter says:


      People love to eat out, and restaurants either come back, or new ones pop up. San Francisco’s restaurant scene is livelier than ever. I love all the outdoor vibrancy now.

      Malls are a different story. A lot of them went back to the lenders during the Pandemic (jingle mail). Lots of stores have permanently shut down. Lots of Zombie malls. They’re not coming back. They’re going to be bulldozed and turned into housing. Small street-level brick-and-mortar retail is essentially finished. There is no reversion to the mean. This is a structural change that vastly accelerated during the pandemic.

      • Swamp Creature says:

        Wolf, agreed

        Was in Downtown Bethesda, Maryland the other afternoon. The whole street area was blocked off and tables everywhere. The place was packed with people of all ages including children. A live Country Western/Rock band was there playing an outdoor concert, where people were dancing the street. Business was booming. This could be the new norm. This and sports bars appear to be the wave of the future, post pandemic. Malls are the past.

      • Micheal Engel says:

        A bear market rally, or the last men standing benefit from the
        rejuvenation ?

  49. Auldyin says:

    In case you thought this isn’t all being managed by the ‘Masters of the Universe’
    The Gov of BoE. when asked about the difference in approach to Covid between the US and UK, said basically:-
    The US has targeted liquidity towards supporting ‘incomes’ whereas we(UK) have targeted liquidity towards supporting ’employment’. It will be interesting to see how the return to ‘normal’ plays out under these different approaches. Lacking reserve currency status we(UK) have to be careful to ensure funding is sustained. In other words, you(US) can print it, but he went on to say, at some point, you might have to demonstrate a willingness to tax in order to maintain confidence in the currency.
    You are being watched.

  50. Trinacria says:

    The pent up demand seems to be for paid “vacations” by any means possible.

  51. Mark says:

    A lot of this is very understandable. My first questions at an interview would be do you expect me to wear a sweaty mask all day or require vaccines? If yes to either one, bye bye, end of interview. Screw your job.

    Next, most employers want to pay next to nothing for important work. Again, bye by, do it yourself.

  52. c smith says:

    “And many of them had moved on during the pandemic or were using their unemployment benefits to push their dreams forward, rather than returning to restaurant work.”

    The ultimate socialist argument. We’ve overcome scarcity (rich people exist), so everyone should be able to behave like a rich person. This is the ultimate “assume a can opener” argument. (Google it).

  53. Swamp Creature says:

    What’s going on with JPM/Chase getting into politics? Here’s’a bank that got bailed out in 2008 and continued making speculative trading, including the London Whale, which they lost billions. Now they are into stearing campaign donations based on voting pattern of specific Congressman. Citicorp is think of doing the same thing.

    A few year back these SOB’s stiffed me for a foreclosure appraisal fee, which they never paid. They had my mortgage before I paid it off and it took an act of Congress to let them have me pay it off which I did. ThHey were so happy collecting 8% interest when the going rate was 5%

    This is the largest bank in the USA and the most crooked. I hope Jamie Diamond is reading this post. He belongs in jail.

  54. RedRaider says:

    Ever since I heard people aren’t returning to work I’ve wondered how big is the underground economy and how many people have joined it.

    No stats exist on underground economy so maybe that’s where people are ending up. Work at your own pace, pay no taxes, etc. What’s not to like? Heck, if I wasn’t retired I would give it a try!

    • Swamp Creature says:

      Let me tell you the underground economy is booming. Everyone is sick of the confiscatory tax rates. I think mine is close to 42%. If you get paid in cash or pay your contractor in cash the price drops.


      Removed rotten tree . Contractor quote $2K. Hired 3 Guatemalans for cash. Price $700. They did a great job and hauled all the debris away.

      Lawn service: $55 for lawn service company. Cash price $35 per cut 1/6 Acre lot.

      The more the government raises taxes the less revenue they get because more people start doing business in cash.

      Learned that from growing up in the NY Metro area, where this was commonplace back then. Everyone did it and even bragged about it.

      • Kevin says:

        Did you, or the contractor hire the Guatamaltecos? Can’t tell.

        Unless you’re doing business, and have income to write it off against, why not always pay cash for meals and stuff. You are doing your local small merchants a huge favor.

        Any time you are about to buy a something moderate to expensive, look at Craigslist. There’s probably someone giving it away for free, or selling it cheap. You can also post ISO, In Search Of Ads there for free and reach a massive audience of potential vendors.

        • Swamp Creature says:


          I hired them directly. No contract no paperwork. Just a handshake and a white envelope at the completion of the job. Believe it or not they worked for the Tree company that was charging 2K.

          I pay cash for everything that doesn’t involve mailing. Like groceries, Ms Swamp’s hairdresser, restaurants, hardware stores etc. Keeps spending under control when you see the dollar bills exiting your wallet.

      • RedRaider says:

        I’ve been paying cash for about a decade. Never thought of it as the underground economy. But I think you’re right. Definitely for the payee.

  55. Guido says:

    As a San Franciscan, this interview from a North Beach restaurateur, who coached my basketball team, is much more accurate than the arriviste owner that the TV station interviewed:

    One of Peter Santenello’s great series of on the street interviews on Youtube

    Old-School Italian Restaurant Owner Tells All! (lockdowns, nostalgia, struggles, hope)

    • Wolf Richter says:

      What kind of effing BS is this? “Arriviste owner?” That woman has been running a restaurant for a long time in SF. It wasn’t on TV. It was on radio. You have no clue what this restaurateur said because you didn’t listen to the interview.

  56. Val Uwakwe says:

    It’s best many small business can grow fast and accept people who are ready to work. Labour unions and government across the world should act now and save a looming unemployment crisis.

  57. Ed Tim says:

    It’s not a workers shortage, It’s a SLAVES shortage ……

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