Despite the high rate of unemployment in the U.S., reports show that certain industries still are unable to hire the number of workers that are needed. The primary reason for this is that most American workers are overeducated for the work being offered. The workforce of America is highly educated. Over 90% of American men complete high school with millions more going on to even higher education. This creates an atmosphere where there are few workers willing to perform manual labor. This decrease in the manual labor force is particularly damaging to industries like agriculture, food processing, and home health care.
The solution to this problem is the very much the same as it has been for years. The Amercian workforce needs an influx of foreign workers. Foreign workers are generally more willing to do manual labor and to apply for seasonal jobs. This is important when you take in account a report by The New York Times that shows that U.S. born workers in Morristown, TN, a place where the unemployment rate is 11.2%, were unwilling to take low paying manufacturing jobs even after six months out of work or when a Washington lawmaker claims that many farms in his state are operating at 75% of the needed workforce.
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And the problems are only looking to increase. By 2012, 75 million baby boomers were expected to have retired and by 2020, U.S. fertility rates are expected to drop below replacement levels. This leaves a country where the manual labor workforce has dropped precariously. Nor can the U.S. fall back on a knowledge economy. Over two-thirds of the students in computer science and engineering programs at U.S. universities are foreigners. Without foreign workers willing to fill seasonal and unskilled jobs, the economy will fall deeper into recession.
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