With foreign workers filling jobs traditionally held by teenagers and young adults, the Washington Post reports today that the youth jobless rate for June was at its highest level in the last 60 years, according to a new study. Northeastern University's Center for Labor Market Studies analyzed Labor Department data and found that only 37 percent of teenagers ages 16 to 19 were employed nationwide, compared with 51 percent in June 2000. The study was prepared by Andrew Sum, who contends that competition for low-skill summer jobs is tough for youths because they face extraordinary competition from illegal aliens, other foreign workers, college grads not yet working in their fields, laid-off workers and older workers....
Roy Beck of NumbersUSA comments on the above-linked story.
In the Berkshires, Americans Do These Jobs
Just back from my first trip to the Berkshires (in western Massachusetts) where the affluent of the East Coast megalopolises like to summer and play, and I was just stunned to see nearly every visible job filled with an English-speaking American.
This is intriguing because it is among the nation's elites that we find most of the resistance to passing the SAVE Act or other legislation mandating the use of E-Verify to ensure that illegal aliens don't keep U.S. jobs -- with the elites complaining that without all the illegal foreign workers, large parts of our service economy would fall apart.
I can sort of understand why they think this because so many of them live in immigrant-saturated giant cities where some of them haven't seen anybody with a U.S.-born parent bus a table, run a cash register or clerk a store in years.''
In the area where I live, there are still Americans doing most of these jobs. Many school kids get jobs picking berries in the early summer; they fill most of the fast-food jobs and retail jobs. However, laws require that for certain jobs, applicants be 18 years old, and this is one factor which keeps many young people from working after school or on weekends. One wonders if laws like that, ostensibly meant to protect young people from exploitation or to ensure that they finish school, were not actually designed to create an artificial shortage of labor for low-wage jobs, so that we could be told that 'there are jobs going begging, -- jobs Americans won't do.'
The above quote from Roy Beck about immigrants working as store clerks brings up a question that I've often puzzled over. Just why is it that our convenience stores across the country are all owned by immigrants, most of them from the Middle East or the Indian subcontinent? I first noticed this trend way back in the early 80s, in the big 'diverse' city I lived in then. Suddenly most convenience stores were owned by new immigrants from the Middle East or Asia. The town where I now reside was an exception, with our local convenience store being owned and run by a family with deep roots here in this community. However I have been told that suddenly there are foreign people who have taken over the gas station/convenience store, and that it's now noticeably poorly-stocked and rather seedy. So now our tidy, clean, bright, well-stocked convenience store, staffed by friendly, congenial people, will eventually be a rundown place with sullen faces behind the counter -- just as I've encountered in so many places.
How can you put a price on this kind of loss? It is a quality of life issue. It is a matter of finding that our hometowns have gradually become unfamiliar and alien to us.
My next question is: can anybody think of an example whereby immigrant ownership of a retail or other business was a step to improvement? Each and every case I can think of back to the 80s involves a decline in the standards and the merchandise of the retail businesses. I can't recall an exception. Third World standards are not on a par with American standards. Sure, there are Americans who own and run ill-kept stores, but in general, the conditions and the service were always a cut above what we now have come to expect in the average convenience store or what passes for 'mom-and-pop' stores today.
But how has it come about that immigrants have some kind of monopoly on convenience stores and gas stations? Or is this not true where some of you all live? It certainly is true in most of the areas I have visited or lived in during the last couple of decades. Do these people all coincidentally choose to run convenience stores? Are they being steered towards that line of business by do-gooding bureaucrats who also steer them to nice heartland towns which are diversity-starved? Are they being given special business loans to set up shop here? Grants? If not, then how is it that people from these supposedly poor countries arrive here flush with cash to start businesses?
The other phenomenon I've noticed is that wherever you go, the local motels are run by people from India named Patel, and this is true even in the most remote, backwater towns of America. I understand that people named Patel have traditionally been innkeepers by trade in their own country, but suddenly it seems as if they are running most motels in this country.
How did this happen?
I am not asking this disingenously; I realize that our government desperately wants mass immigration here and duly paves the way for immigrants, giving them a leg-up, giving them every benefit possible. Either that, or these supposedly needy immigrants are colonists here to exploit us, which is also likely.
I suppose, again, I'm remembering the old America in which every town or neighborhood had its 'mom and pop' grocery stores, as well as the larger supermarkets. The mom and pop stores of my memory were usually well-stocked, clean or reasonably clean, orderly, and cheerful places. I even remember during my childhood that many such small stores gave credit to customers who were financially strapped, and people paid their bills at the end of the month. There was a sense of community. Some stores delivered your groceries if you requested it, at no charge. Usually high school boys were hired for such jobs. I still remember Tom, the boy who delivered our groceries occasionally when we lived in West Texas.
Again, there's a job that no longer exists for young people. Young people were often hired to do deliveries, errands of various sorts, or to sweep up and do odd jobs in retail stores. They were hired to be 'soda jerks' in the old soda fountains, car-hops in drive-in restaurants, ushers in movie theaters. These are all jobs that no longer exist for anybody but if they did still exist, I am sure there would be immigrants filling these jobs.
Part of the loss of jobs is because many of the positions young people took no longer exist, having been rendered obsolete by changing business practices. We no longer have the level of customer service that we once had; customer amenities are few and far between in most businesses now. How many grocery stores deliver? How many drive-ins have car-hops to come and take your order and serve your food in your car? How many gas stations provide full service, as in the old days? A lot of the traditional jobs done by young people don't exist anymore, and those that do exist are being given to immigrants. As these jobs are becoming obsolete, we ourselves are being phased out too.
I like my town as it has existed to this point; my town will not be the same when immigrants own all the convenience stores and begin to take many of the service jobs. It's just another step towards the town morphing into something else, something less familiar, less American.