Throughout the current immigration policy debate, National Public Radio has uncritically reported claims that we need amnesty and massive immigration increases to avert a calamitous labor shortage in the United States.
Apparently, Yuki Noguchi, NPR’s business correspondent, didn’t get the memo. Reporting on the release of July’s dismal employment data, Noguchi relies on Daniel Alpert, founder of Westwood Capital and a senior fellow at The Century Foundation, to explain why the slight decline in the unemployment rate to 7.4 percent is actually not good news.
Citing Alpert, Noguchi reports that the key reason for protracted high unemployment and depressed wages is that “there are essentially too many people looking for work.” Rather than a short-term problem, NPR accepts Alpert’s assessment that this phenomenon is likely to continue. “The U.S.’s biggest long-term issue: an oversupply of labor,” reports Noguchi.
NPR’s coverage of the July employment numbers notes that the 162,000 new hires in July is much slower than it has been during the last year. Even more importantly, Noguchi reports that “Close to 60 percent of the jobs created since the beginning of this year are in the lowest third of the pay scale,” and that many of these marginal jobs are part-time, while workers are seeking full-time employment.
My suggestion: File this report on your computer and next time NPR, or one of its local affiliates reports that we need amnesty and increased immigration to head-off a labor shortage, send them a letter and include a link to their own story. Either we have a labor shortage, or we have an oversupply of labor – but we can’t have both.