Earlier this month, Goldman Sachs estimated that 700,000 fewer foreign workers were admitted into the United States since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
...[T]hat the drop in temporary worker visas since the start of the pandemic has reduced the size of the effective labor force by 400k workers, while the drop in immigration visas has reduced the labor force by 300k (Exhibit 3). Adding these together implies a 700K drag on labor supply... As a result, we expect wage growth will remain at about 3¾% in 2022, stronger than it was last cycle.
That estimate includes 300,000 fewer "immigration visas" which Goldman Sachs does not identify, though it appears they are referring to green cards handed out to legal permanent residents (LPRs) While a green card does grant lifetime permission to work in the U.S., some who are admitted as LPRs are not of working-age and not part of the labor force. Goldman Sachs fails to acknowledge this distinction.
Further, Goldman Sachs fails to note that while travel restrictions did prevent new guest workers from entering the United States, the Trump Administration did allow some to renew their visas and continue to work past the original terms of those visas. And new guest workers were still admitted for many occupation. When DHS releases statistics beyond 2019 we will be able to see how COVID-19 affected immigrant and guest worker admissions.
Of course, Goldman Sachs is intent on playing up what it views as a problem by falsely declaring the United States has "worker shortages" because there has been "upward pressure on wages in 2021" -- something the investment bank wants to counter by significantly increasing immigration.
A recent report by the open-borders Cato Institute argues that Goldman Sachs underestimates how many foreign workers entered the United States in the midst of the COVID pandemic. Its author uses a well-known and thoroughly duplicitous accounting trick to discount the true number of foreign workers added to the labor force.
By counting only visa issued overseas and not those already in the United States who adjusted their status to become legal permanent residents, or who were able to renew or receive new guest worker visas, Cato excludes the majority of foreign workers in the U.S. labor market. One can argue that these individuals were already in the country, but a good proportion would be excluded from continuing to work or would have had limited work authorization under normal circumstances. In addition, it is apparent that hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens have come across the border in order to work in the United States, another fact completely disregarded by Cato.
The Cato Institute is not a reliable source of information on U.S. immigration but it does reliably spout the talking points big businesses use in their push for increases in foreign workers. In this case, like Goldman Sachs, it does so in a very revealing way. Despite the fact the U.S. economy essentially shut down and tens of millions of Americans were out of work, Cato echoes Goldman Sachs in lamenting the missed opportunity to displace even more American workers and depress wages even further.
Cato's complaints appear almost antithetical to its supposed mission of "limited government." President Trump's COVID-related immigration restrictions were an attempt, albeit a small one, of rolling-back a government program that provides tax-payer subsidized labor to employers.
The effects of these restrictions are self-evident. But, as many observers have noted, the results are not necessarily bad for ordinary Americans and already present immigrants who work for a living, nor do they constitute an economic crisis in need of an open-borders fix.
In a September fourth opinion piece for the New York Times, titled "Good News: There's a Labor Shortage," author David Autor, a professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, stated:
The labor scarcity we're experiencing is real. But this is an opportunity, not a crisis. When employers pay more for human labor, they have an incentive to use it more productively. And one way to use people more productively is to train them.
On October fourteenth, the Wall Street Journal explained the benefits for employers the tighter labor market has created:
Many businesses are responding to higher wage costs by boosting the output of the workers they have, with productivity up 5% from the first quarter of 2020.
On August ninth, Bret Thorn, the senior food and beverage editor for Nation's Restaurant News admitted in an article for restaurant-hospitality.com:
We don't like to say this much, but it has long been the practice of many restaurants to hire staff as inexpensively as possible and provide them with the fewest benefits that they can. We all know this.
I guess that can be a good business plan when the labor pool is deep, which it's not now and I doubt will be for the foreseeable future, but it's also cruel.
For more on just how beneficial a tight labor market has been for the foodservice industry, one can turn to Rick Badgley. Badgley is Chief People & Administrative Officer at Brinker International, which owns the Chili's and Maggiano's Little Italy restaurant chains, who recently noted a new need for restaurants to respect their workers more as they are now harder to replace:
[Speaking at an industry conference in early October] The workforce that we're dealing with now has high standards, high demands, and high expectations. Make sure you're investing the time to listen, listen to your team members, they have invaluable feedback for you.
Unfortunately, these effects were produced by a governmental response to the Wuhan coronavirus, not a permanent fix. Thus, there is still much work to be done in order to continue the benefits to Americans created by a tight labor market.
However, the Biden Administration has made quick work of effectively ending all immigration enforcement and encouraging more illegal immigration since January. All part of its untiring attempt to circumvent the requirements of U.S. immigration law to admit as many foreign nationals as possible into the U.S., regardless of existing law, public opinion, or the national interest.
Yearly, the Federal government imports roughly 1,000,000 new permanent workers via legal immigration. Additionally, the government retains over 1,000,000 foreign temporary visa workers and imports another 250,000 temporary foreign farmworkers per year.
The Biden Administration has also opened the door to allow employers to illegally hire from the U.S. illegal alien population and import additional temporary foreign workers who arrive in the country with Tourist Visas, reports Breitbart News.
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Updated: Tue, Nov 2nd 2021 @ 8:20pm EDT