States across America are ending the additional unemployment benefits enacted during covid. There is a lack of laborers willing to go back to the grind. Go out for a meal, and it is undeniable. Wait staffs might be at full capacity but the kitchen is hiring. McDonald’s is offering iPhones for hires that stay on for six months. No one wants to go back to crappy service jobs when they can sit at home and collect the same wage. No one can blame them. We have an economy that removed that mid-level ladder.
Everything is opening back up, and the hardest hit were hospitality & service sectors. These are not sectors with the career pyramid for a happy life. Pressure will be on to lure them back, but where to? Maybe these people are evaluating if it is worth it. The right crows about incentives to bad behavior while the left demands livable wages for fry cooks. What no one is talking about is that those cities that absolutely need a service class at the bottom have erased any ladder up for the non-educated.
America’s cities were hubs for manufacturing. We have lamented the loss of manufacturing jobs for decades while avoiding how it has disappeared from the cities. The Great Migration was for manufacturing jobs up north. Detroit, New York, Baltimore and even Los Angeles were strong manufacturing cities. Those cities saw manufacturing die via a combination of environmental regulations, capital flight to cheaper sources of labor and the new Democrat policies that replaced the old union vote with the welfare vote. This made entry level service gigs a critical stepping stone for many advancement to a blue collar life. That life is gone in our cities.
This is another dirty secret of the immigration game. It is not just a cheap labor play. It helps Democrats, too, but that isn’t all. The cities need a pool of people willing to work the service jobs for the rich and powerful who own the cities. Someone has to do that grunt work, and the average American is not moving to our dysfunctional cities to work as nannies, day laborers and doormen. They would demand enough pay to avoid living there. Third World arrivals don’t care.
It’s built into the structure of our cities. The good city life means two earners or one super earner and what of an extended family. We live as individuals, so someone has to watch the kids on the cheap. Urban planning busted up ethnic enclaves so people need to find a service. Go out to lower cost of living areas, those same areas where the family ties that urban liberals sneer at still exist. Families can still live on one income, so there’s a surplus of adults to watch kids. Somebody still knows a guy who knows a guy to get something done. What’s a city have to offer? Maybe there is an app for it, but like Uber you will have an investor who subcontracts with Somali drivers to rake in a percent.
There is no path for the low end. No one is working their way up anymore. What’s there to go back to besides years of the service sector for the people who stayed at home and paid for their email jobs? We as a society can not admit that this is the state of the game. McDonald’s can offer an iPhone and even $15 an hour, but that’s all anyone without a degree is getting for twenty years.