Tuesday, October 18, 2011

On job mismatches, part 2

On Monday, I wrote a post entitled "On job mismatches" that described the problems that a Colorado farmer had when he tried to hire local labor (rather than legal foreign labor).

If farmer John Harold had lived a little northwest, in Idaho, he could have used American labor. Robert Patton linked to this Wall Street Journal article.

"This is the first year we're doing a harvest," said Steve Little, warden here at the minimum-security St. Anthony Work Camp. Prior to this season, he explained, inmates worked mainly in processing sheds and kitchens, not open fields. But farm labor is so scarce, Mr. Little said, that prisoners now pick as well as pack potatoes.

Despite high unemployment across the U.S., many farmers are struggling to find hands willing to labor in their fields. From Arizona to Alabama, states are cracking down on undocumented migrant labor with legislation that gets tough on employers. One result: some "illegal" farm hands are being replaced by criminal ones.

More here.
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