It’s 1984 And Workers Are Nowhere To Be Found


Posted by Bob Lord

In Orwell's 1984, the Party would revise history in the moment and the public would not notice. Oceania could transition from always having been at war with Eurasia to always have been at war with Eastasia in the middle of a Party member's speech, without the masses noticing.  

Here in America, in 2013, our elite, through their puppets in Washington, channel the Party from 1984

We're still clearing the wreckage from the financial crash of 2008-09, when jobs were vanishing at a rate approaching one million per month. The unemployment rate remains stubbornly high, and that does not take into account all the part-time workers seeking full-time work and those who have stopped looking. 

It seems like only yesterday the mouthpieces of the elite were blaming the lack of jobs on all those taxes being imposed on the job creators.

No longer. Practically in mid-sentence, a la 1984, the meme has changed. No longer is the problem the lack of jobs; it's the poor character of the jobless. In a speech to a local chamber of commerce, Huffington Post reports, Representative David Joyce of Ohio explained to the crowd that there are three million jobs out there and employers can't find workers capable of filling them:

"There's 3 million jobs every month in this country that go unfilled," said Joyce in his remarks to the Stow-Munroe Falls Chamber of Commerce. "Believe me, the [Cleveland] Plain Dealer already fact-checked me on it because they couldn't believe me. They thought I was lying, and they actually came up with a higher number than 3 million."

"And the trouble is, it's because they either can't find people to come to work sober, daily, drug-free and want to learn the necessary skills going forward to be able to do those jobs," he added.

Got that? We have plenty have jobs. The Ministry of Plenty tells us the job creaotrs have created 3 million more jobs than we have people to fill them. 

Is Joyce's logic Orwellian? In a word: yes. In order for Joyce to be correct, you have to believe that the crash in 2008-09 was caused not by the excesses of Wall Street, but by the incompetence and sloth of all those workers who were let go.

The false implication in Joyce's argument, which many buy into, is that the universe of potential employees for those 3 million jobs is limited to the unemployed. But in the real world, those jobs also could be filled through lateral moves by people with current jobs. Indeed, that's how those jobs typically are filled. After all, even with today's high unemployment rate, for every 7 potential hires who are unemployed, there are 93 who are employed. So, even if the unemployed really are the drug addled losers Joyce says they are (they're not), the jobs still would get filled.

How do we know Joyce is wrong about the character of the unemployed? Because if Joyce were right wages would be rising quickly now. If employers truly were having a rough time attracting qualified workers, they'd outbid other employers by raising the wage they offer new hires (and raise the wages of existing workers to ensure they stay). That's how tight job markets work. But real wages in America have been declining over the last several years. And that can occur only if there is a surplus of qualified workers, exactly the opposite of what Joyce purports to believe.

Another glaring flaw in Joyce's logic is our high rate of under-employment, part-time workers who would prefer to work full-time. If those three million jobs really are going begging, why aren't the under-employed snapping them up? 

Here's what's really going on with those three million jobs: There always are unfilled jobs. Even in tough job markets, there is turnover. Amanda Terkel of Huffington Post explains:

According to United States Department of Labor data, there are typically millions of job openings each month in the U.S., during good and bad economic times. Although some people have blamed this high number of vacancies on a lack of skills or ambition among the unemployed, labor experts attribute many of these openings to normal job turnover as well as the pickiness of employers during times of high unemployment

What would happen if the economy slipped and the unemployment rate ticked up a bit? I'm guessing we'd be at war with Eurasia again and the problem with the economy would again be the taxes on the job creators.    


  1. Yet another reason the jobs remain unfilled: employers gambling that they can grind more productivity out of the remaining employees. After all, waht are they going to do? complain? then it’s THEIR job that ends up remaining unfilled.

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