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The scariest jobs graph you've seen yet

greenstone_chart.jpg

That's job growth per month on the X axis, and how many months that level of job growth would take to get us back to pre-recession levels on the Y axis. Notice that adding new jobs at a rate of 200,000 a month would take us 150 months -- or 12.5 years -- to get back to normalcy. So far, only April has seen more than 200,000 in non-census jobs growth -- and even then, just barely.

Source.

By Ezra Klein  |  July 16, 2010; 10:41 AM ET
Categories:  Charts and Graphs  
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Next: Size matters (at least for stimulus)

Comments

Surely this calls for tax cuts.

(Makes the next 20 comments unnecessary, saving energy and increasing America's productivity in the process.)

Posted by: davis_x_machina | July 16, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

"Surely this calls for tax cuts."

A rather cavalier response to such a serious situation. Of course it will take much more than tax cuts. The seriousness of the job situation and the lack of business confidence in the economy, due to government intervention and the prospect of higher taxes and higher costs of doing business, requires a free market committment which creates the environment in which growth is possible. A believeable signalling from government that the clamps are off and no more changes are on the horizon will begin to instill confidence, then capital gains and corporate taxes can be lowered as an act of good faith.

Posted by: mdfarmer | July 16, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

I believe davis_x_machina was being sarcastic.

Posted by: gmarasco | July 16, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

The obvious conclusion si that the jobs picture at the height of the credit boom should no longer be considered 'normal', and the new normal is a higher rate of unemployment for the foreseeable future.

This is also a scary picture of structural unemployment -

http://gregmankiw.blogspot.com/2010/07/median-duration-of-unemployment.html

Posted by: curmudgeonlytroll | July 16, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Um Ezra? Jobs always take many years to recover from recessions.

In May 1979, unemployment was 5.6 percent. It peaked at 10.8 percent in December 1982. It did not hit 5.6 again until April 1988 - six years. So ~1 percent per year.

The bottom of that cycle was 5.0 percent in March 1989. The next peak was 7.8 percent in June 1992. Again, it took five years - until May 1997 - to return to the bottom. That's just ~0.6 percent per year.

It gets worse. Unemployment was just 3.9 percent in December 2000. The peak was 6.3 percent in June 2003. Unemployment *never* returned to its low level. The lowest it got was 4.4, which was in October 2006 - three years after peak. About ~0.9 percent per year.

It now peaked at 10.1 percent in October 2009. To get back to 4.4 would take a minimum of six years under even the fastest historical rates of growth.

Posted by: tyronen | July 16, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

The "tax cut" comment is meant as sarcasm. No sane person actually believes the malarky about tax cuts creating jobs or increasing government revenue.

Demand is the only thing that ever created the need to hire more workers. No business person worth their salt hires someone unless they know they have the business to pay for that position. Tax cuts to business are seen as a windfall and can go to many different things, but most often go to higher pay to management.

As for the canard about increasing revenue. Who amoung us would quit a job and expect our net income to increase? If you believe that government should be run a you would run your home then you can understand how cutting your income does not increase your bottom line, it does the opposite.

Posted by: henk2 | July 16, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Looking on the bright side, if we are still thinking about closing the jobs gap in 2020, we will have another census to help us get there.

Posted by: Unwisdom | July 16, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

henk2 is absolutely right.

Posted by: Patrick_M | July 16, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Generally I would not believe such scary numbers. But here is one person's personal experience whatever worth is:

In the Tech Recession of 2000, Silicon Valley was decimated. In that year, Valley lost 100,000 jobs in a short span of a year. I believe Valley went from 1 Million jobs to 0.9 Million jobs.

These were days when people still used to read newspapers for news and analysis. There was no Ezra’s blog at Post in those days. San Jose Mercury News, one of the crown jewels of Knight Ridder before the owner sold the whole company for $5 Billion (what a brilliant trade in the hindsight); declared that it will be 2011 before Valley would attain that job level!

My wife just screamed when she read that headline and mentioned to me (as both were impacted by that brutal Tech Recession) that the time to run from America is now if this news holds. As usual I scoffed the ability of these newspapers in projecting anything sensible and said nothing off that sort will happen.

As it happens, like a naïve, stupid, misty eyed American, I believed in the American Dream. We lived on in the Valley and here we are in 2010 and it is clear that that projection of San Jose Mercury News is coming true.

Silicon Valley has not recouped the job losses of 2000 Tech Recession.

Point is as the former Wells Fargo Economist Wong Sohn says, the danger of 'lost decade' is higher than 'double dip'.

Apart from short term stimulus, this country and especially its political system need to get serious about jobs. It is easy to find faults with Andy Grove's call for manufacturing jobs and defending Trade War if needed. But someone needs to really call the 'bluff' of GOP and Tea Party when they go on selling the 'snake oil' that by flipping the Political Party in Congress, we are going to address this crisis of employment. Bush Tax Cuts and non regulation Economy of 2004 to 2008 did create jobs, but that Economy is not sustainable and is basically responsible for the Great Recession of 2008-2010. Those are the questions which need to be asked - that GOP will again try to sell the 'lies' of Tax Cut driven, ‘sleeping with businesses without any regulations’ policies; but Americans need to know that it does not work in any sustainable manner.

Obama and Dems – are you up to the task here?

Posted by: umesh409 | July 16, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Small businesses are the engine of growth and innovation in this economy and what separates the US economy from the corporatist monstrosities in Europe and the command economy of the PRC. No tax cuts and a return to the pre-Bush tax regime will surely keep the down-trend going southward until a grown-up gets in the White House in 2012. Even if Mitt is elected, the damage this sophomoric political tyro has done with the aid of the far-left dirigiste-statist corrupt mafia like the Dodd/Frank crew is probably permanent.

Posted by: djman1141 | July 16, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Tax cuts only stimulate when tax rates are artificially high. (I know Davis X. Machina is being sarcastic, but some here aren't.) When Kennedy was Pres the top rate was some astronomical number, I think maybe 90%, although no one really paid that. Even when Reagan came in the top rates were 70%, I believe.

Even if you believe that the Kennedy and early Reagan tax cuts were stimulative, it should be obvious that by the time Bush came in, more tax cuts for the rich were only going to be redistributive, and that's just what happened--with those cuts plus deregulation, more money went to the rich at the expense of the working and middle class, and people tried to keep up by going into debt. Ultimately it collapsed, and now we have to figure out how to rebuild the economy on a fairer and more sustainable footing.

Posted by: Mimikatz | July 16, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

No surely this calls for more government spending! It's done famously well in all the "western" economies for the last 40 odd years! Don't worry, blame Reagan for the failures in the US!

But how does that explain the collapse of Europe? Don't worry, Krugman will tell you it's all the Bush tax cuts. But hey, those didn't effect Japan,Germany, France, Spain or Greece.

Nothing to see here... move away...move away...

Posted by: NelsonMuntz | July 16, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Henk2 is wrong and terribly shortsighted. Demand is only a stepping stone in the process of business expansion. Companies don't address demand without looking at needs and wants. For example, The topsy turvy tomato inventor didn't create his product because there was a demand for it. He created the market for his product. Companies innovate to create wealth. Companies need access to capital to innovate. Government takes capital out of the system, either through taxation, or through issuing bonds. Henk2 (and Krugman, too) ignores the complete equation.

Posted by: indyguru | July 16, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

indyguru:

If you seriously believe that the problem with current high unemployment is not a lack of demand but a lack of available capital because of government spending, then you will need to respond to this information, which has already been discussed at length at this blog:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/14/AR2010071405960.html

Posted by: Patrick_M | July 16, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Graph is misleading; it assumes a constant labor force participation rate.

In practice, labor force participation rate should fall for a number of (reasonably healthy) reasons:

(1) Demographics. In 2000, 17.4% of Americans 20 or older were 65 or older; in 2020, 22.1% of Americans 20 or older will be at least 65. That amounts to around 10.6 million people, or about 7 million 'workforcers'.

(2) 1994-2007 was a bubble economy. People who wouldn't be in the workforce under sustainable conditions will under bubble conditions; reasonable estimates vary, but 7 figures can be conservatively estimated, and I for one would prefer a sustainable economy going forward.

(3) A large number of people who would under normal conditions (average economy/non-recession policy) have left the workforce have stayed on because of the extra 73 weeks of unemployment checks.

The effect on the graph is a significant leftward shift of the line, maybe 100-200K jobs worth for the next year or two.

Posted by: eggnogfool | July 16, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

I merely pointed out the problem with looking at a small portion of the equation and stopping the analysis there. The story doesn't end with demand. I believe that demand is only one of a myraid factors in a companies decision to expand and to take on the risks associated with that expansion.

Why would companies hoard cash, anyway? They more than anyone else want their money to work for them. But if companies are uncertain of what their liabilities are going to be whether due to market conditions, or government intervention, they will not risk the loss of that capital.

Some would argue that this hoarding is essentially the same as government confiscation, because the money is not being put into the system where it can be used to increase a companies value.

Posted by: indyguru | July 16, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

People were laid off in the wake of the 2008 crash because their employers received less business due to a decline in demand, and so companies were forced to reduce payroll or went out of business.

People were not laid off because someone had thought up a "topsy turvy tomato" planter but could not obtain the needed capital.

Companies will or will not rehire and grow as dictated by the demand (or lack thereof) for their products and services. The problem is not management uncertainty about government policy, or lack of private capital because of government spending. The problem behind joblessness is demand.

Posted by: Patrick_M | July 16, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

So for the last week we've been seeing earnings reports that show corporate America in great shape. Earnings, on average, are up 30% from a year ago. So why are businesses hiring? Worried about regulation? Please.
btw, I've been hearing great job and econ discussion on the internet radio show at www.jobtalkamerica.com

Posted by: kcsam215 | July 16, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

"The problem is not management uncertainty about government policy"

That isn't THE problem, but it is a problem. If we pass major energy policy changes, billions in investments will soon follow. If energy legislation fails, billions in investments will immediately follow as well (in a different direction). Until one of those happens, there will be a lot of money waiting on the sidelines.

Posted by: eggnogfool | July 16, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Elections are performance reviews by voters. The voters saw what GWB did with one party government, didn't like what it saw, and gave Congress and later the Presidency to Democrats.

The 2010 mid-terms will be the kickoff of Democrats' multi-year performance review. For the long term, Democrats did great for health insurance reform and financial industry re-regulation. But people struggling day to day, doing their bills on the infamous kitchen table live in the short term and the economic stimulus was inadequate. Back to red state, blue state changes in the unemployment rate.

Posted by: tuber | July 16, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

All you people with your pithy comments and simplistic solutions don't seem to understand the reality of where we are!

1. We have outsourced/offshored too many jobs to foreign countries and they are NOT going to come back. Politicians allowed companies to undercut our labor force in the name of lower prices and increased corporate profits by not imposing controls,limits or penalties for doing so.

2. Automation enhancements will continue to reduce the need for human workers, leading to the fact that...

3. There are simply too many people for the available jobs and we need to reduce both immigration (legal and otherwise) and the birthrate. But if we do this, then who will pay for SS & Medicare for older folks?

As a country, we are between a rock and a very hard place. There are no politicians that are willing or capable of attacking the issues I have laid out above.

We are approaching the end of civilization as we have come to know it.

Posted by: JackJo | July 16, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

"That isn't THE problem, but it is a problem. If we pass major energy policy changes, billions in investments will soon follow. If energy legislation fails, billions in investments will immediately follow as well (in a different direction). Until one of those happens, there will be a lot of money waiting on the sidelines."

Just like the "topsy turvy tomato" -- find me a single unemployed person today who was put out of work for this reason. Hoe many percentage points do you expect unemployment to fall because of investments that will be made only after energy legislation has passed or clearly failed?

Again, the people who have been laid off lost their jobs because of a fall in the demand for the product or service that their employer provides.

Posted by: Patrick_M | July 16, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

The housing market debt problem also has to be resolved for recovery to proceed. See

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-07-16/housing-bubble-leaves-4-trillion-hangover-chart-of-the-day.html

Posted by: PeterS1 | July 16, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Let me quote David Frum (guest-posting at Andrew Sullivan's blog) and let me also suggest not trusting what Ezra Klein tells you:

--------
here's a crucial fact that Brookings omits: that 125,000 per month increase in the US labor force is not a law of nature. In fact, during the Bush years, more than half the growth in the US labor force was due to the arrival of immigrant labor.

Immigrants now make up some 15% of the US labor force. They are concentrated in the less skilled portion of the labor force and in industries hardest hit, especially construction.

If immigration levels were curtailed, the job gap would be a lot smaller. And if illegal immigrants returned home, rather than being put on a "path to citizenship," the problem of putting the unemployed back to work would be smaller and easier.
----

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2010/07/our-immigration-policy-is-obsolete.html

Posted by: LonewackoDotCom | July 16, 2010 6:40 PM | Report abuse

"If immigration levels were curtailed, the job gap would be a lot smaller. And if illegal immigrants returned home, rather than being put on a "path to citizenship," the problem of putting the unemployed back to work would be smaller and easier."

Sure, we can easily locate and deport every illegal immigrant. We have shown for decades how easily we manage to eject the illegal immigrants that are here and stop new ones from crossing the border. Nothing to it.

And then vast new opportunities will open up in the fields of lettuce picking, changing linens in cheap motels, along with minimum wage work in the slaughter houses.

Not one of Frum's more thoughtful outings.

Posted by: Patrick_M | July 16, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

You can have all the demand you want, for whatever you want.

If marginal taxes (not to mention regulations and other government burdens) make it unprofitable to hire and produce, no one will hire and produce. That's why reductions in taxe rates are always emprically assoicated with economic growth . . . and jobs.

What is idiotic is the liberal faith that government spending pays for itself and punitive, redistributive taxes have no effect on growth and employment. Great idea, liberals, to punish job creation in the name of "working people."

Posted by: quarterback1 | July 16, 2010 7:05 PM | Report abuse

"What is idiotic is the liberal faith that government spending pays for itself and punitive, redistributive taxes have no effect on growth and employment."

Oh. You are aware that taxes have been lowered during the Obama administration, to the lowest level in 60 years? And that a huge chunk ($288 billion) of the $787 billion ARRA stimulus was in the form of tax cuts?

"If marginal taxes (not to mention regulations and other government burdens) make it unprofitable to hire and produce, no one will hire and produce."

It is no less proftable to hire and produce now than it was while Bush was in office -- as long as there is demand for that which is produced. If you don't have orders, you can't have profits.

Taxes, regulations, and "other government burdens" did not cause the layoffs that produced the currently unemployed population. The now vacant capacity in the production was caused by tumbling demand as a result of the meltdown in housing and finance in 2007-2008.

Posted by: Patrick_M | July 16, 2010 7:34 PM | Report abuse

It boggles the mind that people think that discovering, tracking, arresting, housing, processing, transporting, and deporting 12 million people is actually a serious, practical, and doable policy idea.

Even if someone could figure out the logistics of it all, how long would it take? How many government workers would it involve? How much would it cost? And that is to say nothing of the fact that, in general, it looks pretty bad when the government starts rounding up millions of people, packing them into trains, to be sent off to some sort of "camp" to house them all. It looks even worse when its done on the basis of race and ethnicity. (Something tells me that when such people envision the process, their mind isn't picturing a lot of Swedes and Canadians.)

Posted by: nylund | July 16, 2010 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Patrick_M: thank you for standing with illegal labor profiteers and against (your fellow?) Americans.

However, the issue isn't ejecting all the illegal aliens. It's an issue of reducing the number of worker visas issued when Americans could fill those jobs, and taking steps that discourage illegal immigration.

Stop lying for once.

Posted by: LonewackoDotCom | July 16, 2010 10:32 PM | Report abuse

LonewackoDotCom:

quoting the Frum piece:

"They [immigrants] are concentrated in the less skilled portion of the labor force and in industries hardest hit, especially construction. If immigration levels were curtailed, the job gap would be a lot smaller. And if illegal immigrants returned home, rather than being put on a "path to citizenship," the problem of putting the unemployed back to work would be smaller and easier."

Those of us with a modicum of reading comprehension can see that Frum is talking about ILLEGAL immigants returning home, and refers to them as the less skilled portion of the labor force, so obviously the argument is not directed at legal immigrants with "worker visas."

In order to get a green card issued for an immigrant, an employer must legally prove that it has a need to hire an alien for a specific position and that there is no minimally qualified U.S. citizen available to fill that position.

"Stop lying for once."

Have a clue what you are talking about for once.

Posted by: Patrick_M | July 16, 2010 11:13 PM | Report abuse

"thank you for standing with illegal labor profiteers and against (your fellow?) Americans."

I would say you're welcome, except that is not where I "stand" at all. Any employer that exploits illegal labor should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

But to push the idea (as Frum does) that a ready solution to employment is "...if illegal immigrants returned home, rather than being put on a "path to citizenship..." is just not serious to anyone who has any understanding of even the basic challenges of the issue, (see nylund's comment, for starters).

"Stop lying for once."

Have a clue what you are talking about for once.

Posted by: Patrick_M | July 16, 2010 11:29 PM | Report abuse

nylund is trying to mislead you. If you trust anything it said, see this:

http://24ahead.com/s/deportations-false-choice

Patrick_M: do us all a favor and move to some libertarian paradise; Somalia is nice this time of year.

First, everyone knows that companies engage in widespread abuse to bring in foreign workers; a search of Youtube will show a law firm instructing companies how to do that.

And, those of us who've covered this issue for years in thousands of posts (i.e., me) know exactly what Frum meant. He meant reducing the numbers of illegal aliens, reducing the flow of illegal aliens, *and* also reducing the number of work visas granted (the "curtailing" bit).

For instance, over eight months ago, I post about how hundreds of thousands *more* visas were granted than any stimulus jobs that were "saved or created":

http://24ahead.com/n/9601

I posted that back in October of last year, and it joins the thousands of posts I've made about this topic. If you think you know better, tell us who you are and where we can find your site.

Alternatively, just move to Somalia and give us Americans a break.

Posted by: LonewackoDotCom | July 17, 2010 12:15 AM | Report abuse

LonewackoDotCom:

"Patrick_M: do us all a favor and move to some libertarian paradise; Somalia is nice this time of year."

Given the fact that my comments throughout this thread connect unemployment to the collapse of demand, and therefore I am an advocate of further large government stimulus investment, it is laughable that you have concluded that I am a "libertarian."

"First, everyone knows that companies engage in widespread abuse to bring in foreign workers; a search of Youtube will show a law firm instructing companies how to do that."

Oh. Wow, a YouTube video? Ok then. How does any of that contradict anything that I have said? I already told you that I favor vigorous prosecution of employers of illegal labor. How many invalid "worker visas" are granted on an annual basis? When Frum specifically discusses low paying jobs and the construction industry, he is not talking about workers with green cards.

"And, those of us who've covered this issue for years in thousands of posts (i.e., me) know exactly what Frum meant. He meant reducing the numbers of illegal aliens, reducing the flow of illegal aliens, *and* also reducing the number of work visas granted (the "curtailing" bit)."

Yet your comment (i.e. by you) immediately above says "However, the issue isn't ejecting all the illegal aliens. It's an issue of reducing the number of worker visas issued when Americans could fill those jobs, and taking steps that discourage illegal immigration."

Pick a story and stay with it. The vast bulk of the people Frum describes are the illegal workers here that he wants to return to their countries of origin, so in order to achieve what Frum describes, mass round-up and deportations would need to occur, to open up all those great lettuce-picking jobs. Somehow I don't think either you or Frum is too concerned about a Canadian or a Brit with a green card working in Silicon Valley or teaching at an American university.

"Alternatively, just move to Somalia and give us Americans a break."

I'd be a lot happier moving to Vermont and voting for Bernie Sanders.

The kind of people who tell other people that they aren't Americans (simply for expressing an opinion) are the least American people around. Childish and semi-incoherent commentary, here, Mr. wacko. But I am sure you enjoyed the opportunity to use Ezra's blog for spamming your own.

Posted by: Patrick_M | July 17, 2010 1:13 AM | Report abuse

With all these chats about illegal immigrants, tax cuts and so forth I personally think that putting illegal immigrants to exile and slashing taxes will not solve the unemployment. I am one of those in a long term unemployed and as much as I hear about us "being lazy" well I beg the differ. As you can see, EDD (Employment Development Department) have programs such as retraining, but there is a catch. First you'll have to prove to them that the job you want to train have a HUGE demand. I am talking about over 10 businesses looking for them. That being said, how can you find 10 kind or similar businesses that needs a certain field. If someone consider that they would go to a retraining in the sense that they feel they can do the retraining, and also of course the person getting the training, would not only definitely want it but see it as a sense to better themselves too. Easier said than done. Also if someone goes to retraining, that's it for them. They cannot get benefits when they take a retraining as soon as their retraining course ends. For those who have families, this is an extremely RISKY GAMBLE, because if that person goes for retraining, crashes and burn, it's not just him who's affected; his whole family would be affected. In my experience, I did two types of vocational training using the money I receive from my unemployment, because I saw the potential risk of making EDD pay for my retraining. Spread Sheet Data entry with basic logarithmic and calculus input and also medical case file management are the two trainings I went through so that I won't lose my benefits. But the fact that matters is, even when I am equipped with these two new certifications, there's not enough job market for these certifications even any type of manual labor is at halt! It's not us [Those who lost our jobs] who's at fault here. The job market went down and we were dragged along with it against our will. It's easy to judge that we look at a paper, call if the position is available, and get denied right there on the phone or after the first interview. Take note the point that whenever we make a phone call to a job listing in the classified ads sometimes it feels like we are begging for temp and placement agencies to give us a job, any job! It easy to pass judgment, but for some reason it's hard to analyze. Maybe analysis of the situation is too much work. Now who's the lazy ones?

Posted by: MagicSpaceshipKo | July 17, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

MagicSpaceshipKo,

I feel for you, and I wish you the best of luck in your job search. It is maddening when people talk as though unemployment is the fault of the unemployed, or say that if benefits are denied the unemployed will somehow find the jobs that don't exist. I hope it gets better for you and for the country.

Posted by: Patrick_M | July 17, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Coustomers with disposable income (money to spend) is the definition of demand. And the difference between desire and demand is purchasing power.

Any company that raises production without the necessary demand in the market will just produce overstock. If this product sits in inventory long enough, the company will fail.

Nearly four decades of declining purchasing power of the producers of goods and services (workers/the vast majority of populas) has destroyed domestic demand (70% of the economy). And the outsourced jobs to slave wage nations does not create demand where goods are produced... Due to the extreemly low wages that attracted industry there originally, little of what they produce can be consumed there.

The "supply side" scam has run it's course, and our current situation is the predictable (and predicted) result. More noncollection of tax obligation from the already wealthy and deregulation of business will only worsen our plight.

I suggest a return to the policies that produced the highest standard of living ever recorded in history for the general public...The tax rates and regulations of the 1960s in the United States, for the United States.

Seems to me, the primary purpose for government is protection of the people. One of the predators the public needs protected from is heartless corporations, and other sources of great wealth.

For the good of the nation, we need a returne to sane policy. We need to accept that, the rich and powerful don't need advantage, they NEED restrained!

Posted by: rpmamuck | July 17, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Patrick_M: My apologies for thinking you're a libertarian just because you sounded like one in the part of your screed that I responded to.

The video I referred to is a law firm at a seminar instructing companies how to avoid hiring Americans and hire foreign workers instead; that's simply an example of how various programs are abused. You can see the video here:

http://peekURL.com/vt2qy1b

And, obviously, there are plenty of legal foreign workers working at low-skilled jobs in service and so on, in construction, and so on. Not all service/construction workers are illegal aliens. What Frum is almost assuredly suggesting is reducing the number of non-tourist visas granted, and most of those visas would be going to people doing lower-skilled jobs.

As for the rest of your comment, see the link in my previous comment. You're trying to mislead people: we have options besides mass round-ups.

If anyone - Patrick_M or Obama - tells you that we have to choose between amnesty or similar and mass round-ups, they're trying to mislead you.

Posted by: LonewackoDotCom | July 17, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Green cards that are awarded expressly for employment reasons are limited to 140,000 per year.

Employment preferences consist of five categories of workers (and their spouses and children): priority workers (about 41,000 in 2009); professionals with advanced degrees or aliens of exceptional ability (46,000) ; skilled workers, professionals (without advanced degrees), and needed unskilled workers; special immigrants (e.g., ministers, religious workers, and employees of the U.S. government abroad)( 40,000); and employment creation immigrants or “investors” (3,000).

So the "legal permanent resident" status is granted to a fixed, very small number of people, the vast majority of whom bring significant skills.

For an H1B Temporary work visa, a candidate must have secured a job offer, and the candidate must prove the equivalent of a US college or university degree in a relevant subject. If the candidate was educated outside the US, the candidate may qualify with non-US and/or only partly relevant degree, followed by three or more years work experience, or twelve years of high-level work experience.
These visas obviously will not admit unskilled labor and are granted in very limited numbers as well ( all stats here: http://travel.state.gov/visa/statistics/nivstats/nivstats_4582.html ).

L-1 Temporary Visas are limited to employees that are simply transferring from one branch of an international company to another. They are limited to executive managerial" and "specialist knowledge" categories. So again, these are granted in small numbers and the recipients are highly skilled individuals who already work for the company that is temporarily moving them.

E Temporary Visas are given to people heavily involved in international trade under US treaties. Candidates must be of same nationality as the Treaty Registered employer (i.e. if you work for a German company, you can only go to the US on an E visa if you are a German). The applicant must be experienced in, and going to undertake, a managerial or executive role in order to qualify for the E Treaty Trader or Treaty Investor Visa. No low skill labor here.

The normal avenue for unskilled labor to obtain temporary work in the US is an H2B visa. The stay is limited to one year and the employer must also prove that there are no unemployed US workers willing or able to do the work. This is established through the state's employment agency using a labor certification process. This process requires a recruitment campaign, including advertising in a local newspaper for available temporary workers. Only 66,000 H2B visas are granted.

When Frum says "the problem of putting the unemployed back to work would be smaller and easier," he refers to illegal immigrants, because the number of legal temporary and permanent workers is miniscule compared to our current unemployment, and the great majority of that small number are highly skilled specialists or managers.

Posted by: Patrick_M | July 17, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

"If anyone - Patrick_M or Obama - tells you that we have to choose between amnesty or similar and mass round-ups, they're trying to mislead you."

Emphasis on the "If" in that sentence -- because I don't think Barack Obama has ever said that, and I know for certain that I haven't. It is worth noting that deportations have been increasing under the Obama administration, climbing from 185,944 in 2007 to 387,790 last year. And, perhaps more significantly, so has enforcement at the worksite, by increased auditing of employers, thereby cutting off the supply of jobs that attract illegals:

http://www.stltoday.com/news/national/article_25403fd6-26cb-5c5a-bc9d-9a13932f304b.html

As the article says:

"Employers say the audits reach more companies than the work-site roundups of the administration of President George W. Bush. The audits force businesses to fire every suspected illegal immigrant on the payroll — not just those who happened to be on duty at the time of a raid — and make it much harder to hire other unauthorized workers as replacements....Employers say the Obama administration is leaving them short of labor for some low-wage work, conducting silent raids but offering no new legal immigrant laborers in occupations, such as farm work, that Americans continue to shun despite the long recession. Federal labor officials estimate that more than 60 percent of farm workers in the United States are illegal immigrants."

So, while the enforcement is steadily improving, there are limits to what can be achieved until there is a social consensus (and new legislation) to address the immigration issue in a comprehensive way. As the article indicates, Americans don't rush in to fill jobs that illegals typically fill, even in times of high unemployment, so if we are serious about locking all illegal labor out of these jobs there will need to be some major shifts in compensation practices and pricing for the goods of these industries.

Frum's airy, empty, little piece telling us that the problem of unemployment would become "smaller and easier" if all immigrant workers were gone gets us no closer to solutions for either immigration or unemployment.

Posted by: Patrick_M | July 17, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Eventually, the house of cards constructed by the "cheap labor lobby" is going to collapse. Twice in the 20th century there were massive forced repatriations to create workforce opportunities for unemployed and underemployed American citizens. The first was during the Great Depression and the second was in the early 1950s.

Despite what the cheap labor lobby wants you to believe, there are millions of skilled positions in America filled by illegal aliens. They arrived here on a perfectly valid work, student, or tourist visa. They "just" overstayed the visa. You may learn more about the massive numbers involved by reading the March, 2008 CIS backgrounder by David Seminara, "No Coyote Needed." Please locate a copy by using Google to locate the report via its title.

A September 4, 1997 INS report arriving at similar conclusions is here
http://www.justice.gov/oig/reports/INS/e9708/i9708p1.htm
and
http://www.justice.gov/oig/reports/INS/e9708/i9708p2.htm
with a followup report from April, 2002 showing no progress on the overstay problem here:
www.justice.gov/oig/reports/INS/e0206/memo.pdf-2008-05-18

Where will this lead? It is likely that massive numbers of Americans who are pushed out of their homes by mortgage foreclosures caused by these massive job losses will participate in bloody, lethal riots. (This happened during the Great Depression.) These riots will likely motivate the first round of forced repatriations during the 21st century. Please use Google to search on both phrases "Forced Repatriation" and "Great Depression" to learn more. See also the July, 2005 issue of Atlantic Monthly to read the long James Fallows article, "Countdown to a Meltdown" which anticipates riots, first starting in Michigan.

Posted by: Dr_Gene_Nelson | July 18, 2010 7:39 PM | Report abuse

GWB's own Treasury Department refuted the "tax cuts pay for themselves and grow the economy" gospel of the bipartisan neocons who led us to this point.

http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=692

While the deficit has grown every year since '56 or '57, it has only increased as a percentage of GDP (post WWII) since 1980 and the start of the Reagan Revolution. This direction has nearly bankrupted our nation's ability to address needs like job creation.

Posted by: jackshipley1 | July 19, 2010 12:21 AM | Report abuse

let me see if I understand correctly: democrats are basically arguing that obamanomics will so cripple american smell-business job creation going forward that you better stick with the party who is willing to extend unemlpoyment benefits indefinately (OK, fine, but what kind of vote of confidence is that?) while actively trying to add those extra costs to the deficit (just plain crazy given how much americans care about the deifict).

i think after 18 months with him, obama has decided that the joe biden "is he crazy like a fox??" approach to making an argument is the best way to get as far as possible on little or nothing.

Posted by: dummypants | July 20, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

let me see if I understand correctly: democrats are basically arguing that obamanomics will so cripple american smell-business job creation going forward that you better stick with the party who is willing to extend unemlpoyment benefits indefinately (OK, fine, but what kind of vote of confidence is that?) while actively trying to add those extra costs to the deficit (just plain crazy given how much americans care about the deifict).

i think after 18 months with him, obama has decided that the joe biden "is he crazy like a fox??" approach to making an argument is the best way to get as far as possible on little or nothing.

Posted by: dummypants | July 20, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

While the deficit has grown every year since '56 or '57, it has only increased as a percentage of GDP (post WWII) since 1980 and the start of the Reagan Revolution. This direction has nearly bankrupted our nation's ability to address needs like job creation.
*********

which also happens to be the 50th anniversary of social security and right before the medicare and medicaid starting shredding the american budget. oh, it also coincided with the creation of the first impacts of the Department of Education on the federal budget. this is getting fun!

democrats must be crapping themselves to realize its progressive social insurance programs which are bankrupting this country. they'll do anything to not let the message get out.

Posted by: dummypants | July 20, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Klein,

When are you going to discuss the fact that adding approximately 1 million legal immigrants each year will continue to hamper our recovery?

Mass immigration will continue to job recession; it's simple mathematics; greater numbers of people competing for fewer jobs equals a continued economic job crisis.

It's time to drastically reduce all immigration. The harsh reality is that there are not nearly enough jobs in the United States for everyone to come here, work, and be happy.

Posted by: brholmes | July 22, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

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