Category Archives: Labor

What the Record Spike in “Quits” Says about the Job Market, Inflation, and How Labor Gained Pricing Power, by Wolf Richter

The non-transitory inflation is feeding into wage rates. From Wolf Richter at wolfstreet.com:

One more reason “transitory” and “temporary” have become a silly joke. Even the Fed is backing off promoting it.

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

The number of people who quit jobs voluntarily – to work for another company that offered higher wages and benefits and a signing bonus; to change careers entirely; to stay home and take care of the kids; to spend  more time with their money; or whatever – spiked by another 242,000 people to a record of 4.27 million in August, up 19% from August 2019.

This is what the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today in its JOLTS report, based on a survey of 21,000 nonfarm business establishments and government entities.

The spike comes amid a very tight job market, with labor shortages cutting into sales and production, and contributing to transportation bottlenecks, amid record job openings that have been spiking for months, and amid aggressive efforts by companies to hire people away from other companies, which creates this spike of quits.

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More Info Surfaces On Southwest Airlines Flight Cancellations and Pilot Push Back Against Vaccine Mandates, by Sundance

It’s a revolt that dares not speak its name, a revolt against a vaccine mandate. From Sundance at theconservativetreehouse.com:

People inside Southwest Airlines are speaking out carefully and pointing out why there are so many flight disruptions.   Essentially, the background issues are what were discussed earlier.  Pilots are pushing back against vaccine mandates; and if you think about the curriculum vitae of a typical pilot, it makes sense.

A big percentage of commercial airline pilots are former military pilots.  That group of people carry a strong disposition toward the principles of patriotism, service, liberty and freedom.

It is a simple truism that upsets leftists, but it makes sense for this specifically skilled workforce group to be the tip of the push back spear.

Alex Berenson provides some background details after being contacted by a Southwest pilot: “The pilot emailed following the first Southwest post today (and provided his SWA ID to prove his identity). He asked that I paraphrase the email.

Essentially, the union cannot organize or even acknowledge the sickout, because doing so would make it an illegal job action. Years ago, Southwest and its pilots had a rough negotiation, and the union would not even let the pilots internally discuss the possibility of working-to-rule (which would have slowed Southwest to a crawl).

But at the moment the pilots don’t even have to talk to each other about what they’re doing. The anger internally – not just among pilots but other Southwest workers – is enormous. The tough prior negotiations notwithstanding, Southwest has a history of decent labor relations, and workers believe the company should stand up for them against the mandate. Telling pilots in particular to comply or face termination has backfired. (read more)

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Featured Story Biden’s Illegal Migrants Should ‘Pay Their Way’ Into America, Unloading Cargo Ships Stuck Off California Coast, by Robert Bridges

Here’s a novel solution to two crises in one. From Robert Bridges at strategic-culture.com:

The travesty of justice must end if the United States has any hope of remaining a free and democratic sovereign state, Robert Bridge writes.

In September, the full madness of Joe Biden’s open border season became painfully visible as some 12,000 illegal Haitians were filmed huddled under the Del Rio International Bridge seeking shelter. So shocking were the images, which could have passed for one of Dante’s nine circles of hell, that the FAA banned news media from flying drones over the humanitarian wasteland.

Ironically, at the very same time these illegal migrants were getting ushered into the U.S. mainland with nowhere to go, international cargo ships were being restricted from delivering their shipments at U.S. harbors. Many of the vessels are still adrift at sea today, idling off the coast of California and beyond. So bad is the backlog, in fact, that Vice President Kamala Harris broke the news to Christians that Santa would have some trouble fulfilling orders on time this Christmas.

“The stories that we are now hearing about the caution that if you want to have Christmas toys for your children, it might now be might be the time to start buying them, because the delay may be many, many months,” she said at a conference in predominantly Buddhist Singapore, of all places.

In any case, instead of calling out the real Grinch behind the global gridlock, which was the Democrat’s draconian kill-switch response to the Covid pandemic, Harris blamed climate change for spawning “stronger typhoons” and a “sea level rise” that has purportedly wreaked havoc on “port infrastructure.” Does anyone recall the Weather Channel reporting on cargo ships going missing at sea lately, or was Harris just offering a tantalizing hint that climate change lockdowns are the next big event on the horizon?

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Is The Small Business Sector Being Deliberately Targeted for Destruction? by Brandon Smith

Small business owners are not exactly a core Democratic constituency, while the large corporations they compete with have become big Democratic backers. From Brandon Smith at theburningplatform.com:

Is The Small Business Sector Being Deliberately Targeted for Destruction?

The past 18 months have not been kind to small businesses. If you were unfortunate enough to live in a blue state during the onset of the covid lockdowns and you own a brick-and-mortar business then you have probably spent a large part of that 18 months closed, or struggling to stay open with a skeleton crew of employees. If you did manage to get a PPP loan from the government during shutdown you are now realizing that the 24-week grace period is running out and you will probably have to pay most if not all of that money back soon. Many who tried to get a PPP loan failed because the money was quickly chewed up by major corporations instead of being reserved for small businesses.

And this isn’t even the beginning of the list of troubles for small companies. I have to say, unless a large part of your business is handled online your chances of staying solvent are slim. This is not the fault of most business owners, though, it is a consequence of artificially created conditions and restrictions.

What do I mean by this? Well let’s look at some factors that many people might not be aware of…

Here’s why small businesses are suffering

For example, both state and federal governments have been offering some level of covid unemployment stimulus. In the case of federal programs this could amount to $300 extra a week on top of a person’s existing unemployment checks, even more if their state has a separate program. This has created a massive drought in the employee pool. No one wants to work when they can stay home, do nothing and make more money than they ever were before the pandemic. The reality is that there are jobs everywhere right now, but almost no one is applying.

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The Mark of the Beast, by James Howard Kunstler

The coming collapse will get rid of a lot of the present madness. From James Howard Kunstler at kunstler.com:

So, you’re feeling down and blue about the Woke Luciferian madness shading our American life under its baleful bat-wings? A lot of my friends and loved ones are down and blue. At this darkest of dark hours, I have some advice for you. Say ‘okay’ to whatever shade the universe is throwing on you. Rise! Go with it. Run with it and mount it. Ride it until you exhaust the beast that has made itself your enemy. Ride it until it goes to ground and whimpers. Because that is how it ends and you get your life back.

The frightful swans, black, white, and gray, are circling in the sky like those old air-traffic jams above the runways of O’Hare in bad weather. They are looking to land, and as they do, they will change everything. Enough people around the country will finally get their minds right. They will come back to themselves wondering… where have I been? This is what is coming at us (let’s count the ways):

The Covid-19 spell breaks. The beast thought it was a good idea to deprive millions of their livelihoods just to get its way and force them to submit to a medical experiment conceived in the utmost bad faith. You say your “vaccine” is defeating the plague that you schemed to create and beset the world with? We know exactly what you did. We know that most of the people getting sick now are the “vaccinated.” Look what happened in Israel. Too far to see? Look right here in Vermont. Your “vaccine” makes people sick. Soon, it will be self-evident everywhere that this “vaccine” is just another side of your boutique sickness.

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Biden Keeps Pushing Nonexistent Worker Vaccine Mandate, A Ploy That Keeps State Attorneys General From Filing Lawsuits, by Sundance

So far the executive order and mandate are threats only, and you can’t sue a threat. From Sundance at theconservativetreehouse.com:

Joe Biden did it again today.  A month after the first announcement, the White House occupant claimed again a Dept of Labor rule (via OSHA) is forthcoming, yet no such process appears to be taking place.  This ploy now seems very purposeful, because without an actual policy or regulation visibly in place, state attorneys general cannot file a lawsuit or request an injunction.

As long as Biden keeps threatening a DOL worker vaccination rule sometime in the future, many employers will take action to require worker vaccination.   This seems to be the actual strategy; bolstered by White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki caught off-guard last week when asked about it.

Psaki had no idea how to answer the question about any OSHA activity not taking place (link).  Obviously Psaki didn’t expect the question, but it was also obvious that no background conversation had ever taken place amid the White House communication team.

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Rising Car Costs Explained, by Eric Peters

Government workers have no problem with inflating prices, of cars or anything else. Their salaries tend to rise faster, unlike salaries for those of us in the private sector. From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

It seems the only people worried about the cost of things are those who can’t force other people to pay for them.

This is the only explanation for the otherwise bizarre insouciance accompanying each almost weekly “reveal” of the latest electric vehicle – such as the $67,500 to start Rivian R1T electric truck.

But it’s not just electric trucks – or electric cars – that are unmoored from economic reality.

It is cars and trucks, generally. Their prices are booming – the average transaction price of a 2021 model year is close to an unprecedented $35,000 – even as the economy is collapsing.

It’s a strange juxtaposition.

Until you understand the non-market forces at work.

There is, of course, the price-padding effect of compliance costs – what you pay for all of the things directly mandated by the government, such as air bags and back-up cameras and tire pressure monitoring systems – as well as those things not specifically decreed, such as direct injection, partially electric drivetrains, small engines with heavy boost (turbos) but which are necessary to meet the emissions and fuel efficiency standards laid down by the government.

These have added thousands of dollars to the cost of every new car.

New cars would, in fact, be generally unaffordable on this account alone were it not for the compensatory effect of economies of scale, manufacturing efficiencies and the reduced cost of materials (e.g., the widespread use of cheap painted plastic for most of the front and rear ends of almost all new cars in lieu of metal and chrome).

We can get a sense of what new cars and trucks would cost, absent all of the baked-in costs of the mandates and the need to “comply” with all  of the government ukase by comparing the costs of cars made here with the cost of cars made elsewhere – in countries that have governments that are less involved in designing cars. This includes even China, where it is possible to buy compact pick-ups such as the Wuling Zhengtu – which is made by a subsidiary of General Motors, by the way – for just over $9k.

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US Desperate For Coal Miners To Meet Soaring Global Demand, by Tyler Durden

There’s a shortage not just of miners, but of all kinds of workers who do the jobs that aren’t done behind a desk. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Coal supply shortages in Asia and Europe are pushing prices for the dirtiest fossil fuel to record highs and have become a challenge for US suppliers due to a shortage of miners, according to Bloomberg.

For the last three and a half decades, the number of coal mining jobs in the US has collapsed from 180,000 to 42,500 in August. The industry remains 9,500 miners short from pre-COVID times.

With coal prices worldwide screaming to all-time highs ahead of winter as China and Europe scramble for supplies, the US coal industry is failing to find new miners willing to do the dirty work as demand soars.

“That’s making it difficult for mining companies to boost production at a time when the global energy crisis is making utilities desperate for every lump of coal they can dig up. Even with coal prices surging around the world, the labor shortages are another sign that it’s going to be tough to shore up energy stockpiles,” Bloomberg said. 

Erin Higginson of Custom Staffing Services, which recruits miners in the Illinois Basin, said miners used to walk into their office for jobs, but now they have to “hold job fairs all over just to find a few miners.”

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Woke public schools push hardcore erotic fiction to their students, by Simon Black

This week’s chronicle of the absurd, from Simon Black at sovereignman.com:

Here’s our Friday roll-up of the most ridiculous stories from around the world that are threats to your liberty, risks to your prosperity… and on occasion, inspiring poetic justice.

New York Declares State of Emergency After Firing Unvaxxed Health Workers

Tens of thousands of healthcare workers in New York have been fired or placed on unpaid leave for remaining unvaccinated as the deadline set by the state passed.

Now the state is facing a shortage of healthcare workers, as at least 36,000 workers, or 8% of hospital staff in the state have not been vaccinated.

Some hospitals are now suspending elective surgeries— even before the deadline, and one hospital stopped delivering babies because of staff shortages.

So in the name of public health, the government has created a major hospital staffing shortage during a public health emergency…

It’s such a problem that Governor Kathy Hochul declared yet another State of Emergency.

She issued an executive order to allow health workers licensed in other states to work in New York, and to waive re-registration fees for retired health workers who want to go back to work.

(She fails to realize that this will simply create staffing shortages in other states…)

She also plans to activate the National Guard to bring in qualified soldiers to work in the hospitals if these other measures are not sufficient.

Hospital workers went from front-line heroes to second-class citizens pretty quickly.

Click here to read the executive order.

Massachusetts State Police Resign Over Vaccine Mandate

Dozens of Massachusetts State Police officers have resigned over the state’s mandate for vaccination, but that might just be the beginning.

Coming up against the October 17 vaccination mandate deadline, 20% of the force remains unvaccinated.

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Incentives Matter: Unemployment Edition, by SchiffGold.com

It’s of course a mystery as to why it happens, but if you pay people not to work, they don’t work! From schiffgold.com:

Both Janet Yellen and Joe Biden insisted “enhanced” unemployment benefits weren’t incentivizing people not to work. The numbers prove them wrong.

In a podcast, Peter Schiff said the notion that generous unemployment benefits weren’t motivating people to remain unemployed was absurd.

Only government economists could fail to understand this obvious relationship. There is a preference for leisure over work. People would prefer to have leisure than work. The only reason they give up their leisure to work is because they need the money. Because otherwise, they can’t pay their bills. They can’t pay the rent. They can’t put food on the table. So, even though they would prefer leisure, they have to work. Well, if the government says, ‘No, you don’t have to work. You can have the leisure that you prefer and we’ll replace your lost income. In fact, we will actually give you more money to take a vacation than what you would earn if you gave up that vacation and went back to work.’ How can anybody not realize that there is a link here between these lucrative payments not to work and so many people choosing not to work?”

And the numbers prove him correct.

The labor market has been out of whack for months. With the US government handing out enhanced unemployment checks, we ended up in a bizarre situation with high unemployment even as job openings hit record levels. Recently, some states have rolled back those unemployment benefits, and unsurprisingly, unemployment has dropped more quickly in those states than in those that retained the enhanced benefits.

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