Low-Skilled Workers Take It on the Chin

Percentage change in low-skilled employment by state, 2007 to 2010/2011.

OK, I was wrong (sort of). Now I’m fessing up. So, get over it.

While the labor market has deteriorated markedly since the onset of the Great Recession, job losses for low-skilled workers have been especially devastating. And nowhere in the country (literally, nowhere, except in Tennessee) have low-skilled workers been more likely to lose jobs than in Virginia. According to the calculations of the Urban Institute’s Josh Mitchell in “Where It Really Hurts,” Virginia lost 2.7% of its jobs between 2007 and 2010/2011. But the number of low-skilled job declined 28.3%! That compares to a national average of a 9.7% decline in low-skilled jobs.

Let me be the first to say (before anyone obnoxiously points it out to me) that this data is consistent with the claim made by the Commonwealth Institute, which I dissed a couple of days back in “Virginia’s Skewed Prosperity,” that the wage gap in Virginia has been getting worse. In “Unbalanced, Unequal and Undercut,” CI argued that highly educated workers have prospered while job losses in middle-wage industries have hurt employment opportunities for middle-class Virginians.

The Urban Institute data supports CI’s assertion that employment in low wage occupations in Virginia has been clobbered and that the gap between high- and low-wage workers continues to grow. I still maintain, as I did in my review, that the statewide wage gap is exaggerated by the growth in population and incomes in Northern Virginia, thus obscuring economic dynamics within individual metropolitan areas. But I repent for saying that the CI study created “a terribly misleading impression.” Overall, CI got it right.


There are currently no comments highlighted.

7 responses to “Low-Skilled Workers Take It on the Chin

  1. The most important thing to recognize is WHERE low-skilled workers come from and then to realize that we have two choices with respect to low skilled workers.

    1. – take the “it’s too bad” approach that includes those who have jobs paying for those that don’t health care, housing, food, etc…..

    2. – understand how other countries in the world are dealing with this problem – and ask why we have chosen to not do what they do.

    if you want better than a low-skilled, chronically unemployed, consistently getting entitlements workforce – then you have to step up your education game.

    right now our schools are dedicated to the 30% who are bound for college and whatever happens to the others is ” oh well, too bad”.

  2. End Illegal Immigration Now!

    The bottom of the economic food chain is falling apart in the United States. The recession is one culprit. Technology advancing faster than society can retool is another. Outsourcing is a third.

    All of these issues are made much worse by the illegal importation of excessive supply at the bottom of the economic food chain.

    The libtard love of illegal immigration is absolutely killing America’s poor.

    We DO NOT have a labor shortage in America at the bottom of the economic ladder. We have a huge surplus of people without the important skills required for “lower middle class” jobs. Allowing the illegal importation of addition labor is a GUARANTEED way of lowering the wages for those Americans who can least afford lower wages.

    The idea that Americans won’t do the jobs done by illegal immigrants is IDIOTIC. Look at areas where there are very few illegal immigrants. Does McDonalds still serve food? Do lawns get mowed? Are there laborers for construction sites? Of course. The belief that Americans won’t do those jobs is pure libtard bull****.

  3. I agree wholeheartedly with Groveton on the impact of illegal immigration on wages at the lower end of the skill set line. The Federal Government has failed to do its job in minimizing and reducing the flow of illegal immigration in the U.S. (Both Bush and Obama are equally guilty.) Obama opposes state action on immigration, even though the US Supreme Court has stated the states are not powerless to take action against illegal immigration, but closes his eyes when states or their subdivisions bar the use of E-Verify.
    A substantial reduction in new illegal entry and attrition of existing illegals through enforcement against employers would enable wage gains for those at the bottom of our economic ladder.

  4. Please see Page 11 of the report below. Of course, this is from the Libtard Center for American Progress, so easily dismissed.


  5. as “Some Guy” shows with the report – Americans will not pick apples or lettuce 12-14 hours a day staying in farmer-provided bunk-houses and then pile into a van to drive 50-100 miles to repeat the process.

    The word is that the farmers in Alabama now have fields of rotting produce and are going to lose their tails…. since Hispanics – even legal ones – have gotten the word that they’re going to be targeted by police, hospitals and even schools.

    When Groveton talks about low-skilled, lower middle-class jobs – he’s talking about the basic manufacturing jobs in textile, millwork and light manufacturing/assembly that can be done much cheaper overseas including in Mexico.

    the only way that low-skilled white folks could afford to work in NoVa is if they do what the Hispanics do – live 10 to a house….

    All I would ask is that we be forthright enough to face the realities and stop pretending …..

    we have this big problem now days… we not only do not want to face the truth – we need scapegoats…. unions, bad teachers, hispanics, clown shows, etc…

    we are the problem. we refuse to deal with the realities.

  6. as “Some Guy” shows with the report – Americans will not pick apples or lettuce 12-14 hours a day staying in farmer-provided bunk-houses and then pile into a van to drive 50-100 miles to repeat the process.

    Of course Americans will do this. They just won’t do it at the wages paid in a world where there is a huge influx of cheap, illegal labor which forces the price for that labor to sub-human levels.

    Offer $20/hour for the apple picking jobs and tell me who signs up.

    You say that those jobs don’t pay $20/hour? Of course they don’t. Because the illegal aliens have spiked the supply of unskilled labor, which …

    Depresses the price of the labor.

    Busboys, waiters, janitors, construction labor … spare me. I’ve done all of those jobs.

    Here’s another example:


    Teen unemployment is at epidemic levels and pool management companies are bringing foreign students to the US to fill summer lifeguard jobs?

    Yes, the article is from 2008. However, I have confirmed that the same practice is still going on around the DC area and across the country. Several of my son’s friends were unable to secure their usual summer lifeguarding job this summer

    Is lifeguarding another job that Americans “just won’t do”?

    Spare me.

    Our borders need to be sealed and our employment laws enforced until the poor living legally in America are earning a living wage.

  7. Canada has the same exact problem and they deal with it with work visas where citizens of Mexico come and work for the summer then go back home.

    “sealing the borders” a simple-minded and ineffective. if you want to deal with the problem – we need to do what Canada does – and the penalty for not using workers with visas are severe.

    you don’t need the border stuff.. it’s an impossible and exceptionally expensive job that requires thousands of government workers…

    this is just more of the same blame game…. find a scapegoat for what we won’t do…

    in this case – we have a lousy education system that focuses on getting 30% of kids to college and to hell with the others.

    here is what Japan has done:

    With workplace training, Japan’s Kosen colleges bridge skills gap

    ” It’s called the “skills gap,” and it’s the bitter fruit of educational systems in both countries that aspire to make college accessible for all, but that often produce students who, if they do get a degree, focus too narrowly on abstractions while neglecting the hands-on competence necessary for landing jobs that pay middle-class wages.

    “In Japan, the mainstream education system is extending childhood and not giving practical training,” says Motohisa Kaneko, director of research at the government’s Center for National University Finance and Management. “Even the basic competence of university graduates in engineering is rather dubious.””

    The skills gap that troubles Japan is tormenting the United States. Since 2000, the percentage of U.S. young adults aged 20-24 with jobs has fallen from 74 percent to 62 percent, a level not seen since the 1930s, according to a 2011 study by Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education. It concluded that the “college-for-all” system that emerged in the United States after World War II is failing the majority of American youth.”


    If you want kids in Va to get a job – you’ve got to educate them for jobs beyond picking apples and tending to McDonalds landscaping.

    what Groveton is saying is that our kids need those jobs that Hispanics who are not even high school graduates are doing.

    no. no. no.

    We don’t need the Feds telling us how to do this. Mr. McDonnell could do this and it would be a far more impressive legacy than finding some lose bucks in VDOT or selling the ABC stores.

    All of us should WANT our high school graduates to be able to pass the Armed Forces Aptitude test and to get a job that requires them to use their brains not their hands.

Leave a Reply