The Blinding Glimpse of the Obvious Answer to Solving the American Job Crisis
This blog has covered a wide range of community groups.
Its included groups driven by generation, presence of kids, type of housing, urban density, mobile vs. lock-downers, ethnicity, gay vs. straight, dwellers on the home-front and dwellers in the digital world.
However, there has not been any posts about the American Workforce… a group right now that makes the news headlines most every day.
The news media fans the flames of community discord. While many journalists will deny it, there’s been stroking of an underlying perception that no one really wants to work today.
As news talk heads will further reinforce with comments that “Millennials don’t want to work,” or “Uncle Sam’s COVID benefits are better than going back to work” or “Everybody works from home with no incentive to go back to the office.”
There are a few business leadership events that I attend where individuals presenting make similar statements.
As many are aware, I write the news column published in newspapers across the U.S. that features the daily COVID-19 numbers for everything from those Active to those who have died to Vaccination numbers.
To prepare those reports, I engage in many State statistics and have access to numbers that many are not aware of the mechanics of how they are tracked.
While this sounds odd, the Pandemic has opened up access to statistics and perspectives that have enhanced my understanding of market dynamics and market change agents.
While few in the media and academic circles cite it, there is one major factor that is like a spike driven into the heart beat of the American workforce… the aging of the Millennials and their movement out of starter jobs and the hourly-paid workforce.
During this year, 2022, the trailing edge Millennials will celebrate their 28th birthday and the leading edge will celebrate birthday number 43.
The Millennials are the largest generation to ever exist in the U.S. … and the largest generation ever to fuel the workplace.
The Boomers created the Millennials.
Let’s take a short trip back in history and look at the dynamics affecting the American workforce.
Just as manufacturing took over the American economy post-WWII, large population groups from Europe entered the American workplace.
I was born in Cleveland Ohio which was part of the manufacturing mecca back then that stretched from Pittsburgh to Cleveland to Detroit to Chicago to Minneapolis. My immigrant parents — Dutch and Italian — represent the springboard of the labor force that supported the labor demand.
They also along with their peers birthed the Baby Boomers, what was touted as the “largest generational group to ever populate the planet Earth.”
The largest percentage of any generational group secured college degrees and the largest percentage of women entered the workforce during non-war years of any generational group.
Job demands were fulfilled in the 1970s by the Boomers as they poured out of their parents’ homes and into the workforce.
Then came the GenXers… a post-expansion generational group that some thought might have a negative effect on workforce demand during the 1990s, but two trends took place affected the workplace that the media fails to cite…
(1) The integration of technology into the manufacturing workplace and the Internet
(2) The influx of Hispanic-Latinos
Those sporting MBA degrees become hot along with those with technology backgrounds. Production Efficiency become all the buzz and manufacturing went through born-again experiences.
During the same time, futurists visualized a workplace where people were not needed. Shoot, labor would all be done by robots and computers. Products would arrive by self-driving automobiles and the 4-day workweek would become standard.
And while no technology was developed in by the arrival of the 21st Century to flip those McDonald’s burgers or clean up the hotel rooms, the media ignored the first entry of Hispanic-Latinos from Central America and Mexico.
As manufacturing shifted from the “Rust Belt” to the “Sun Belt,” no one made much connection with the proximity to the Southern U.S. Border.
During that time, the U.S. Labor force began to change in composition.
And then the Millennials not only arrived, but the leading edge turned 16 and got their driver’s licenses and a new wave of American workforce emerged.
The news promoted the shift of the American economy driven by service jobs and not manufacturing.
And while a higher percentage of Millennials went on to college than any other generational group, there was a higher percentage of Millennials that poured into the job market when turning 18 than at any time in U.S. history.
Through the early 2000-teens, the Hispanic workforce took on the trade and manufacturing jobs.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the Hispanic-Latino workforce grew from 10.7 million in 1990 to more than 29 million in 2020 … nearly a three-fold increase… and nearly the same number to replace losses that have since taken place.
Today, Hispanic-Latinos account for just over 36 million members of the American workforce. Even more so, Hispanic-Latinos account for more than 70% of the non-white-collar American workforce.
We will come back to the Hispanic-Latino American workforce in a moment.
All the talk about Americans “not wanting to work” is crap — and I am being mindful not to use terms like “bullshit!”
More Americans who can work are working today than ever before in American history.
The Millennials became the largest generation in the U.S. about 7 years ago with many first-entry in the U.S. — Millennial in age — got added into the count.
With the trailing edge celebrating birthday number 28, many Millennials are no longer working the starting jobs.
The replacement of the late-teen through mid-twenties population in the U.S. is about a third smaller today than what it was 10 years ago.
Furthermore, all those predictions of the Internet and technology doing away with the need of a human workforce was not only Sci-fi geeks toking a high… its so off given the job needs by the high-tech giants wearing the name tags of Amazon, Facebook, Apple and YouTube.
Globally, manufacturing that moved to places like China, Russia and Eastern Europe is pouring back into the U.S.
The GenXer’s kids — Generation Z — are becoming job eligible but there just isn’t enough of them to meet the demand.
Will the Millennials birth a new workforce that matches back up in size to their impact on the American work-force?
The answer yes, but we are at least 10–12 years before the leading edge of the Alpha Generation will become job eligible.
Employers are begging for applications. “For Hire” signs are just as visible as “Open for Business” signs.
Which brings us back to the Hispanic-Latino community that is fueling the American Workplace today.
The U.S. Department of Labor predicts that 78% of net American workers between 2020 and 2030 will be Hispanic-Latino.
The most recent stats cite that one-out-of-every-four American workers will be Hispanic-Latinos.
Hispanics dominate key industries like Farming, Fishing and Forestry where they represent more than 50% of the workforce to 40%+ in Building & Construction to more than a third of Food Prep & Service (i.e. the restaurants) and also Transportation & Material Moving (i.e. the truckers).
While EXPERIENCE works with politicians, many of those serving in office unfortunately lose sight of what drove them to be elected to office.
There are many individuals standing in line ready to file an application for a job in the U.S.
They are dedicated workers who will work the less popular shifts in the less fancy settings. Shoot they will put in more than time and a half. They are less likely to join and form unions.
But none of those wearing Red or Blue or Green or a Rainbow array of political colors has yet to pro-actively work with the BGO — Blinding Glimpse of the Obvious — that is standing in line for a U.S. job in America — and this includes those sitting in White House as well as those putting together campaigns to get elected.
That line is formed at the Texas Rio Grande and Texas-Mexican border.
I write these blogs to challenge assumptions and false perceptions. I write these blogs to not only create a sense of discomfort, but also to stimulate creative and innovative thinking.
The American Workforce is facing perhaps its greatest challenge that has no quick solutions with the exception of opening a door to those lined up to work those jobs.
Strategic business and brand consulting is what I do for a living… but it takes the manufacturing of those brands and the delivery of the brand experiences before any of what I do for a living to work.
Write your political and business leadership and wake them up to the BGO — Blinding Glimpse of the Obvious — right in front of us all… the Hispanic-Latinos lined up at the American-Mexican border all ready to work and live a better life.