Where Did All the Residential Construction Workers Go?

Labor shortageAs a recent survey by NAHB shows that  labor shortages in home building are on the rise, NAHB Immediate Past Chairman Rick Judson said today at a press event in Charlotte, N.C. that effective reforms to the immigration system to generate a more productive, diverse and flexible workforce can help revitalize the economy and housing sector.

“Residential construction is slowly turning the corner, and as our members ramp up their business labor shortages are increasingly holding them back,” said Judson. “An efficient immigration system, including a fair employment verification system and market-based visa programs, will provide the certainty needed to grow our economy and increase competitiveness.”

A Growing Problem

The survey data from NAHB show that shortages of labor and subcontractors have become substantially more widespread since 2013. While builders are reporting an increasing dearth of workers in all types of construction, the shortages are especially acute for workers with basic skills like carpentry.

After a particularly strong surge over the past year, the share of builders reporting a shortage of subcontractors jumped from 31% to 51% (averaged over nine key trades). Meanwhile, 46% of single-family builders who employ their own workers reported a shortage of workers, up from 34% in 2013.

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Over the first half of 2014, 60% of the builders surveyed experienced delays in completing projects on time, 18% had to turn down some projects and 9% lost or cancelled sales as a result of labor shortages.

Part of the reason for the labor shortages can be attributed to the fact that many skilled residential construction workers were forced to seek employment elsewhere during the recession and are no longer currently available.

A Sound Solution

Immigrants have traditionally played a vibrant and important role in home building. Today, they account for 22% of the construction labor force, according to the Census Bureau.

So even in a period of relatively high unemployment, there are areas of the country where we still need to bring in foreign-born workers to meet the needs of home buyers and home builders, said Judson.

NAHB strongly believes that a critical component in fixing America’s broken immigration system should be to establish a market-based visa system that would allow more immigrants to legally enter the construction workforce each year when there is a lack of workers to fill the jobs that are needed.

“Congress has a unique opportunity to reform our nation’s immigration policies in a way that will safeguard the nation’s border security, boost the economy and continue our proud heritage as a nation that welcomes immigrants,” said Judson. “The time to act is now.”

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  1. scott says:

    This is the most ridiculous article I’ve ever read.

    It is not a immigration issue. It’s an issue with our youth thinking they’re better than anyone in the trades. It’s also an entitlement issue that is plaguing the youth of today. Growing up, they are being told they have to be a lawyer or a doctor to be successful. As established contractors we need to entice these young kids to get to work and realize they can make money if they put their mind and body to it.

    I’m surprised how NAHB would decide to make this a political issue. Let’s get our youth working…not the immigrants.

    • Duane Meyer says:

      Ditto. Thank God that someone else is thinking. Let’s get our own people to work and off the welfare rolls.

    • Tim Uzar says:

      Agreed completely. 40% of the population is nursing off the teat of the U.S. government but they can’t swing a hammer? During the Great Depression it was much different. People had (or learned) work ethic and were happy to have jobs. We did not need to “import” people with work ethic. I went into construction at age 18 AND went to college for a BS in Construction Mgt. I’m now 37. I was the only person under the age of 35 on all jobsites I ever worked on for many years. (Not including some residential projects with the one off parole violation / down trodden / generation x / tattooed slacker just working for beer money for the weekend.)

      When computer jobs were paying $70,000 starting salary for a college grad and the large GC’s were paying $45,000 starting salary for a college grad (plus you had to be at work at 7 a.m. and most of the time you did not leave until 5 p.m. who can blame this generation for taking the path of least resistance?

      You are right though. This is not a political issue. Close the damn borders and make the Americans build their own projects, pay taxes, get some exercise, learn a trade and stop collecting welfare and unemployment!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Ramona says:

      If only our youth were in trades? How many young people do you know who are interested in a trade? Our country cannot survive without tradesmen and women so who is coaching our kids to go into a trade? None that I know. It is an immigration issue when these are the people willing and able to do the physical work it takes! It is a political issue when this is the truth of what we face as a nation. Don’t tuck your head down and act like it is not a political or immigrant issue. The facts are as they are.

      Tell your sons and daughters to learn a skilled trade and there are many jobs available to them. But if you aren’t going to help with eyes open don’t put snarky remarks out there. Truth is, our youth are not in trades. Truth is, immigrants are willing and able tradespeople. Get out there and recruit our young people to go into a trade, if that is your only solution. But that is not the only solution reality allows.

    • Dan Bothmer says:

      I applaude your remarks tremendously. Unfortunately we have created a false idea that immigrant workers are needed to fill gaps in the trades. So completely untrue.

      How about putting a little time and effort into developing programs for our severely unemployed youth and bring them back into our trades again. I think you will find a whole lot of interested teens that just don’t know how to get into the trades and make a living. We have to change the culture of thinking we created as many of our children will never be able to obtain those so-called “professional occupations” that are out there.

      We have an incredible resource of young tradesmen sitting idle right in our own backyard. They are intelligent and creative. They are just waiting for someone to take them by the hand and get them involved.

    • jay Gauldin says:

      Amen! I’ve tried advertising for carpenter and lead carpenter positions only to find a handful of applicants and 90% of them are over 45 years old. I’m so sick and tired of hearing every kid say, “when I go to college.” Everyone has been brainwashed into thinking everyone needs to go to college. Why? So you can graduate with $100k in debt to be a cashier. Everyone does NOT need to go to college. College is just another bubble that is going to bust in the near future. How are the youth of today going to buy homes and cars and start families when they’re crippled with college debt?

      • Perry Evans says:

        What’s wrong with hiring a lead carpenter who is 45 years old? Too expensive, works a little slower? What is it? Did you know it’s discrimination to not hire someone over the age of 45? I would like to know what your aversion is to hiring someone over 45.

        I too am tired of the “kids need to go to college” mentality that is being spewed from educators and politicians. I think it is time for us (NAHB and local HBAs) to work with our community colleges and high school counselors to encourage kids to go into the trades. Perhaps NAHB needs to develop curriculum for high schools that teach kids how to swing a hammer, operate tools safely, and read blueprints. My frustration isn’t that I can’t find someone to show up and collect a paycheck, it’s finding that person who knows what the heck they are doing.

  2. The census numbers for migrant workers of 22% is sharply off. The number is over 50%. Sponsoring any immigration reform without training is useless. The U.S. government has programs at universities throughout Mexico sponsoring programs for school teachers. These programs match degrees in the U.S. for students to begin teaching in the U.S. The program also teaches English language and qualifies the student for a U.S. work Visa, employment and further education. This program has existed for over 12 years that I know of first hand. This is what our industry needs.

  3. Gary Becker says:

    There are plenty of workers in the U.S. without bringing in foreign workers. If pay is commensurate with skill and work levels, employees would be available for the job needs. We have unfortunately created an artificial economy on the backs of illegal immigrants and cheap labor that drives prices down. The housing industry is largely responsible for driving wages down.

    • SULLIVAN HANNA says:

      I couldn’t agree more. Home builders created this problem and now they must live with it. As an African-American Contractor with almost fifty years in the industry, I’ve gone to hundreds of jobsites populated by foreign workers and watched as skilled minority workers , every one a U.S. citizen, were turned away. Many of these individual left the trades or retired.

  4. It’s not an immigration problem. It’s the educators that insist every high schooler go to college or they are perceived as losers. They send kids that shouldn’t go, and can’t get jobs when they graduate, if they do graduate. Then they can’t pay the student loans, and the schools demand the public pick up the tab. All the while, I have floor covering jobs that pay $100,000 plus; my hvac and other service companies have the same available. But the system puts these kids at a teaching school for $40,000 a year when they know there are no teaching jobs available, and if there is, they start at $30,000 a year. This is not an immigration issue. It’s the perception that you must go to college or you are a failure and will always be one. It’s just so wrong.

  5. Ron Herring says:

    The invasion of our borders has to stop. We need no more workers to train. We have millions on welfare and other social programs including unemployment that need to get back on a working platform and stop living off of taxpayers.

    If honest people want to come to the USA and get a job, let them do it by application and come with proper papers. Become American and work the American ethic. To all that agree please post your feelings. To those that disagree, do the same.

    We are facing serious problems.

    • Roger Jones says:

      I totally agree. I have six years of college and do OK but if I had stayed with my father’s skill set, which I loved, I would be happier and richer. For some reason he though I would be better off with college back then. He is 91 and now wishes I had taken over his business.

  6. Doug Webb says:

    Compensation. Increase to compete with other industries, including government.
    There is no shortage, just a shortage of cheap construction workers.
    PAY UP.

  7. Gene Raley says:

    Illegal immigrants are the problem, not the solution, and this is why.

    When the transients are working for wages that Americans cannot survive on, Americans are forced to seek other avenues of employment instead of trying to maintain and grow a viable business.

    The illegal is looking for any economic gain, so one week they may be picking melons in the Midwest then they may frame homes in North Texas.

    Send the illegals home and lets train the children that do not want to be lawyers and doctors and let them know that there are other areas of gainful employment other than flipping burgers or holding up convenience stores.

    You can promote immigration reform (amnesty) all you want, but first you need to know the experience of the membership and not the mantra of the mainstream media.

    Illegal immigrants are more of a detriment to our economy than the panacea that you promote..

  8. The current labor shortage has impacted my business greatly. When I mention this to others they seem surprised, since the unemployment rate is still high. I ask them, “Who among you has encouraged your child to become an electrcian?” No one. According to our President, they should all be going to college to become computer programers (an already saturated industry). In addition, young people are told they will never amount to anything without a college education. Not true. Skilled tradesmen have enormous earning potential, particularly if they elect to become a subcontractor.
    Thank you for your efforts.

  9. Carolyn Woodard says:

    We are finding the same problem in heavy construction. If we can get work we can not find qualified employees — Dozer operators, excavator operators, loader operators, and truck drivers. One of the biggest problems we are seeing is the shortage of drivers. They must comply with new rules and land regulations and deal with the cost to get and keep their CDL (commercial driver’s license). We are not talking about long haul drivers her. The rules, regulations and costs are driving people out of this trade. Where is America going to be when we can’t get our construction materials to the job site?

  10. mike hebert says:

    Our company has clients that own high end and low end residential and commercial properties. On the low end we offer them jobs but they will not take them unless they can get cash. Seems to me that the entitlement programs make these people unemployable. On the upper end I have made cash offers to panhandlers to do labor work for a half-day for $60 with no takers. Where has the work ethic in this country at the construction level gone? If you hire someone that comes from south of the border, they work, they go home, and come back as long as you pay them and respect them.

    • Bonnie Levoy says:

      I own a temporary labor and skilled staffing company. We specialize in construction and see the industry growing. The problem I have is getting contractors to pay a fair price for my employees. I have companies that will order 1 man for 1 day to go to a job 40-50 miles away and then complain about paying a travel fee, yet they want that man to work for min. wage. My employees work hard and do the work most people will not do and they deserve to be treated better in the field. Contractors cannot have it both ways. If you want a worker who values your job, you must value that worker.

  11. Doug says:

    Pay compensation. The problem is no cheap construction workers. Think about the level of risk one takes working construction. Pay up and compete with government and other industries.

    The trucking industry has same problem. So does retail building materials. The solution: Pay more.

    Welcome to free markets. Well, they used to be free.

  12. Pat L. Smith says:

    I agree Gary. We have veterans who have a higher unemployment rate than others. And the building industry as a whole in Feb. 2014 made a commitment to hire 100,000 veterans. I contacted NAHB myself with an initiative I developed called “Soldierly Salvage” — a training program for veterans and their spouses or children teaching the deconstruction of abandoned homes and how to construct new homes and remodel in our nation’s blighted communities. My goal is to help them and their families have a new career and an affordable home through the Soldierly Salvage initiative. We owe them that. And the best way to know how to build something is by taking it apart. NAHB was not interested — even though I have been a member for over 20 years. I’m not giving up, though, because our industry needs “leaders” not just laborers so I’m trying to do it on my own.

  13. Dan Peterson says:

    A number of the comments are spot on. I agree there needs to be immigration reform, but not by endorsing illegal behavior.

    Building industry leaders would do much better endorsing the rewards of work, hard work. Skilled labor might only be a classroom or an invitation away.
    RE: http://www.mikeroweworks.com

    Dan Peterson

  14. Paul Gillett says:

    I’m a student that graduated 1 year ago with a degree in Architecture and I have qualifications in carpentry and can possibly be a contractor. But most jobs here in Arkansas want to see the experience before they can even consider you a candidate for hire. My portfolio shows all I can do and my resume explains my qualifications. I would love to put what I learned to work and start filling in the gaps of this employment issue here in America. So does any one have any pointers or advice I can use to get employers to hire me?

    • Tim Uzar says:

      Paul,

      Listen to what you said. I was in the same position when I was your age and it seemed frustrating. While I was in college obtaining a degree, I was also working on the Jobsite (30 hours per week) getting my hands dirty, gaining experience not to mention a paycheck 3x that of my roommates. My starting salary was $10K higher than my peers when I graduated and it was due solely to my field experience which I only did to pay my way through college.

      Your potential employers are wanting to see experience. Go get some even if its pro-bono for a short period of time. Find an architect and tell him you admire their work and want to shadow / help them for a little while. If you are good and if you really want the job they will definitely hire you. You may have to stay with Mom and Dad for an extra year but this is what employers want to see. They want to see you love your job and have determination. So many people don’t want a job. They only want the paycheck. As an employer, I would hire someone that had work ethic and was willing to learn over some experienced person who had no work ethic. What is work ethic? Simply put – doing your job as if you owned the company and loved owning it.

    • Matthew says:

      Offer to work for free the first day. I never missed out on a job opportunity with that one.

  15. Louis Coiro says:

    I am in agreement with most of the comments. This issue is not an immigrant issue. This issue is
    the lack of focus and determination of the “lost generation.” This age group between 18-33
    is the most non-productive, entitled, and ego maniacal group that I have ever encountered in my
    34 years of business. I have seen first hand in my family the waste of money to the tune of
    almost $300,000 for an education without any job prospects whatsoever.

    There is no shame in encouraging our youth to be involved with the trades. Most notably to start at the lower level and work their way up to a better position with better wages. Unfortunately, these milennials want to start at the top and achieve what I have achieved after many years of sacrifice and hard work.

    The issue is about the wrong work ethic and message that we are sending our youth — not immigrants.

  16. walter johnson says:

    I am not surprised NAHB is on the “flood the country with ignorant cheaply exploitable bodies” bandwagon. I am, as a member, disappointed. Our southern brothers are just like us, but without the acculturation to the enlightened self interest of work. After a few years learning how the system works, many are out of the labor force and on to the EBT card, the federal housing subsidies, the state housing subsidies and free health care. Heck, our state government will even provide gas subsidies.

    Take a poor fellow out of the jungles of Quintana Roo and plant him in the U.S., he need never labor again and will likely enjoy a standard of living far and away above that he could obtain in Mexico regardless of how hard he worked. Incentive is the key and self interest is the rule. Man is made of meat which means he is by nature lazy. When I refer to “man” I mean each and every human being on earth. With the proper incentive and training we are able to overcome our nature. Without it, we wallow in our natural sloth, filth and ignorance.

  17. Lee Holcomb says:

    Is this guy kidding? This article is completely ridiculous. I mean are the people who push this dribble completely clueless to the actual problem here? “Immigrant” labor, and I use the term loosely, has taken over the industry. Some are good, most are not. The problem is that they will work at low wages that any decent carpenter will not. Then you compound the problem with a youth that is at best lazy, or thinks they deserve a college degree and will instantly be making $250,000. We have demonized the trades to the point that kids think sweating for a living is for ditch diggers. Until we can get our own kids off the couch and away from retarded guidance counselors who think everyone must go to college, migrant labor will be our only option. God help us.

  18. scott says:

    How can they say we have to hire immigrants when almost half the country is now on some sort of government welfare program? I am in the construction trade and the illegal immigrants come in and cut our throats on prices. This forces us to work for lower wages and, in turn, we cannot afford to pay our workers more money. So many people complain about low wages but don’t want to work hard to make more and don’t understand why we as owners can’t afford to pay more. It is true that too many Americans do have a horrible sense of entitlement and are afraid to put in a honest day’s work for an honest day’s wage like the old days.

    I thank God for the abilities he gave me but I know for a fact that I make more than almost all the people I know that went to college … but I’m just a dumb old construction owner.

    • Lucy says:

      We need to cut welfare benefits for able bodied adults IF there is a labor shortage. Opening the floodgates to our borders will only result in a diminishing of the very factors that actually benefit businesses in the long run — less regulation, more freedom to create, lower taxes, etc. Increasing the immigrant demographic will result in higher taxes, more regulation and more government intervention in our daily lives and businesses. Not to mention higher crime rates, lower profits for small business owners and a lower standard of living for the entire country. Sometimes I wonder whose side the NAHB is on.

  19. Margie says:

    I agree with most of the comments made today! We need to encourage the young people of America to learn labor trades. If I was 40 years younger I would take classes and become an electrician, learn how to do HVAC work or some type of contract labor job. There are too many kids with college degrees, no jobs and student loans that they cannot repay. An education is a wonderful thing to have but it doesn’t have to be a college degree! What used to be considered “Blue Collar Jobs” pay more than a lot of what used to be considered “White Collar Jobs” and isn’t all that a joke now because few people dress up anymore! Our NAHB and U.S. government need to encourage Americans to learn how to be proud workers no matter what kind of jobs they have. We should work on getting America back to work!

  20. Kirby Hopper says:

    As an employer in the trades and having a wife who works in immigration for World Relief I think I offer a unique perspective. NAHB is correct and I’m glad they are making an issue of it.

    Reality: Not offering illegals work won’t make them go back to Mexico. It just keeps them in poverty.

    Until our border is secure or we are willing to deport them all, instead of the 1% we deport now, the best thing we can do for them is give them employment so they can lift themselves out of poverty. I’ve been a Republican all my life, even ran for office, and I must say the Republicans (and many D’s) have it wrong. “Just hire our own kids” and “we don’t have a labor shortage” are terribly naive statements. Our government’s trend to go after employers who hire illegals is wrong-headed and doesn’t help anyone. It’s time we start acting as Christians who believe all men are created equal and care for the Mexicans and others south of the border who deserve opportunity just as much as we do. God is not an American. He sent his Son for all men.

    • Tim Uzar says:

      I must disagree with you. Not offering illegal work will prevent the majority of them from crossing into our country to seek employment. One of the basic principles of free capitalism is people naturally migrate to where the opportunities are. The number one export in Mexico is labor. This equates to American dollars leaving our border. This also puts a huge strain on our already imbalanced American budget. America is a great country. It did not become great through God’s blessing. It became great because the people who live here made it that way. Many of your forefathers worked very hard to create a government that was free of tyranny and abusive powers, at this point our dictatorship government is seeking 100% control of our every move including allowing our neighbors to come into our country and take our social security, jobs, export the money and not pay taxes. Your forefathers established our welfare systems, social Security systems, healthcare systems, unemployment systems, educational systems, and labor laws to protect all of us. I consider all of these ystems the structural components of my home I call America. Just like the physical structure that I live in today, it took many years of hard work to create it. Now imagine if your neighbor did not do such a good job building his “home”, did not think ahead and did not look out for his future inheritors. Imagine if your neighbor looked at what a nice structure you built and decided he does not like the structure that he lives in. So your neighbor just welcomes himself into your house, puts his feet on your coffee table and makes himself at home. I highly doubt anybody would take kindly to that behavior. However that is exactly what is expected of the American citizens when people illegally come to our country and take our systems that we have in place and this include our jobs. We are supposed to tolerate it, be Christian and give everything away. Not in my house.

      • Ken Olson says:

        Totally Agree!!!!!!

      • Kirby Hopper says:

        “Not offering illegal work will prevent the majority of them from crossing into our country to seek employment.”

        No, it won’t. They would rather collect tin cans and sell them to the recycling company than live in their corrupt, crime infested, dangerous ghettos. They want to have their kids born here who become automatic citizens and have an opportunity they will never have in Mexico and other countries they are coming from. The only thing that will keep them out is a secure border and until then you’re just going to keep them in poverty when they get here instead of allow them to become contributing members of our society like they would like to be. Most of them will do better than the kids raised in our inner cities who know only gangs and violence. They are hard working and an asset to our country and will be even more of an asset if given the chance, unlike a lot of our own kids. If you really want to know who’s abusing the systems our forefathers set up, spend some time in Tacoma’s Hilltop or an American ghetto near you. Mexican kids willing to scrape paint all day long will look like saints.

  21. Don says:

    NAHB should team up with Mike Rowe (dirty jobs) as contractors in Alabama have done (build Alabama), or do something similar.

    We have to break the dependency on cheap illegal labor. We must have a MASSIVE effort to let our young folks and unemployed know there are opportunities working in the trades, and a great life awaits for those willing to work and learn.

    The Homebuilders Association of Alabama has had, for many years, a foundation to provide scholarships to promising young folks entering the trades, but again, a massive national effort needs to be made. We simply aren’t doing enough.

  22. Brent Olsen says:

    I would agree with so many of the comments above. This is not a political or immigration problem, but an issue with teaching our youth the value of learning a trade.

  23. Mike Kandra says:

    As immigration reform is desperately needed in our great country the answer is not going to help the housing industry in whole. The main issue is that the American worker gets rewarded for NOT working. The government assistance through unemployment benefits has led to the shortage in an already American workforce. The lack of work ethic and overall atmosphere of not needing or wanting to work and earn a paycheck is eroding the fabric of this country that was built on the smartest and hardest workers this world has ever seen. Our government has set the scene for the problems of worker shortages and we as builders are of course experiencing this in the worst of ways because it is hard and demanding work building our nation’s homes.

  24. Frank Jones says:

    The problem with labor has been brewing for 3 generations. I have been in the construction industry for well over 30 years. In the 70’s and 80’s our schools stopped training our youth in auto repair shop, welding shop, woodworking shop, etc. All career training went into computers, and with that (no child left behind) mentality we have put forth a program that all of our students need to go to college.

    Well the educational system has let us down! Not all kids are college bound material. Let’s look at European education system. The British test their students once they get up into the upper levels of school. It would be similar to our high schools. They test the kids for aptitude. If the kid has high tendency for medical training they send the kid to medical school. In the situation that the kid has a liking for electrical they send the kid to a program that is sponsored and funded by a group of electrical contractors. Once the student is trained in the field he or she goes to work for one of the sponsoring companies for a set period of time to repay the investment the contractor has made in the student.

    This is very similar to our unions without the dues and other problems that come from unions. We as builders need to address this situation with our schools and education system. All kids are not college bound material. I am from Texas and we have a major shortage of workers. The energy industry is stealing the kids that would have gone into construction trades here in Texas. That leave us with what we call guest workers. We need some serious immigration and education reform to help with this labor shortage. If we don’t, housing will become unaffordable.

  25. Rick Larkey says:

    I agree with those who advocate for more skills promotion and training in our high schools and for those youth who are not successful in life. HBI should take the lead in advocating more trade skills training for youth and young adults.

  26. Hannah Horseman says:

    Our builder association is working with the local high schools to encourage young people to develop a trade skill. There are scholarships, apprenticeships, etc. available to students who wish to follow a program along these lines. We simply cannot keep importing cheap labor to fill a void that should be filled with the many unemployed citizens and recent high school graduates. The cost to our society of these, by and large, mostly unskilled immigrants, comes at much too high a price. We need to enforce our immigration laws that are on the books, build the dang fence, and get a handle on who is already here. Only after that is done should we even consider letting more in.

    • mike says:

      Good luck at finding a high school kid that wants a job in construction trades at the entry level.
      Most are Xbox indoor pampered by they parents. Again, good luck.

  27. Tim Uzar says:

    Its not our job to as the NAHB, HBA or as employers to “teach” or “train” our labor force. It is the responsibility of the employee to get educated in the field in which they wish to work prior to seeking employment in that field and that is usually driven by pay wage. There are many tech schools still around that do teach these skills. My high school did and still does have auto shop, welding, and carpentry for vocational training. There are two tech colleges nearby that train HVAC techs.
    Since computer jobs are and were paying so much more then that is where the educational sector pushed in the 90’s and 2000’s. Right now there is an expected shortage of nurses in the upcoming years. Education is pushing that direction. Why? Because after 4 years in nursing school you can start out making $70,000 per year or better. You can not do this in the construction industry straight out of college because the immigration issue has thrown a major caveat into the natural flow of a capitalist economy. When there are Immigrants willing to do the job for $10 per hour and the local needs to do it for $40 per hour (including taxes, SS, and insurance) who gets the job? Why would you train your kids to try to compete with this. And some people are actually on here stating “we should help them,” “we should train them.” They are stealing from you! Bottom line. They are costing you money, right now as your are reading this you are spending your tax money to deal with loosely written laws and liberals that think people like me are being inconsiderate by “not allowing my neighbors kid to spend the night at my house for the rest of his life”.

    The one simple law to enforce is close the door and put up a do not enter sign. We have enough work trying to naturalize the legal immigrants that are here. Why do we have sections of my town that look more like Tijuana than a quaint southern town?

    The immigrants are playing by different rules and come from a different economy. If they are disallowed to enter and work in our country the playing field gets even. Albeit the price of homes will go up to compensate for the additional labor cost but aren’t we talking about bringing jobs back to the U.S. here. I guarantee you if a lead framing carpenter made $40 per hour he would have a level of pride in his job, he would pay taxes, have a retirement plan, probably not blow his entire paycheck over the weekend on beer and strip clubs and the inflow of new workers would begin.

    With a free market capitalist society you can see how the dice have landed with the current Government “tinkering” and “assistance.” Much of the established American work force are living off the teat of the government either through their Social Security Disability Suit, Workers Comp Claim, 5x extended Unemployment, Food Stamps, Child Support or Well fare. The “immigrant workers” are here to do the work that the lazy locals don’t want to do but trust me once they are “in” and see the way to manipulate the US system you better bet they will be joining in on leaching off these systems but what is worse is, they did not pay into these systems.

    When the recession hit I know of at least 20 of my subs that lost most of their men due to lack of work. Where did they go you ask? Jaurez, Mexico. Immigrants are here for the money and a “better life” (which is a direct correlation of money and health).

  28. Mac Smith says:

    Tradesman have always been “On the Job Trained” and this will happen again.

    The immigration problem forced our American workers out of work, due to the cheaper labor, which was problem #1 before the economy tanked. I still remember trying to compete with those lower prices before the lending problems.

    I know too, that with the economic down turn I am seeing former contractors as employees in the Big Box Stores, making a steady pay and with benefits for the first time in their lives!

    Only a stable economic “proof” of a good and sound contracting upturn could pry these tradesmen away, and I don’t blame them.

    Companies closed, contractor’s lost their insurance coverage first, and then became instead of sub contractors, our competitors!

    The emigrants being gone is still a good thing for this country. They are still allowed as sub contractors, without proof of citizenship, but not as employees.

    This “rebound” is hit and miss in my remodeling market in SC, so I am not confident the economic problems are over. In fact, with the $10 hourly minimum wage, I know we are headed to a strong inflationary period, and you may recall this from your experience with prior recessions.

    Minimum Wage forces everything from lumber to lettuce to increase in price, often faster than we can keep up as business owners, much less the retired homeowner on a fixed income, that had their money in the market!

    I remember “Reaganomics”. I remember the Terrorist Action of 9-11 and the resulting recession, which was only improved somewhat by President Bush announcing that “Americans can trust our economy, and the only way to recover is to start spending, so hire that contractor, buy that car, etc…

    Let’s NOT build ourselves back up from this by doing the same stupid actions in the past!

  29. Dan Carpentier says:

    Our schools are partially to blame. In my area the school administration did away with all the vocational classes. And I quote ” We want all our students to be on track for college, so we have chosen to eliminate all vocational classes” This is a view point of people who lives in a fantasy world of scholastic pipe dreams. With a high drop out rate that leaves those kids with neither an education nor vocational skills. That attitude is one of the causes that perpetuates the welfare state that is so prevalent in our society. As stated in another response this attitude perpetuates the myth that if you are a trades person you are a second class citizen.

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