Written by Melanie Oubre
While speaking at an economic roundtable in Washington, D.C. yesterday, the CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers said he knows of 600,000 open jobs in the manufacturing field. He blamed his inability to find workers on our lack of immigration.
CEO Jay Timmons claimed that passing a comprehensive amnesty/worker importation bill (S744) is the only way manufacturing companies could find the skilled workers they need.
…You know…‘cause Americans don’t do those jobs?
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I thought it was going to be a little easier since I had a job for so long and I have really great references,” he said. “Now I’m in such a rut I don’t know what to do.” Said one participant at a Canton, Ohio job fair after handing his resume to every employer- including manufacturing companies.
Not only are there millions of personal stories like these that directly counter Mr. Timmons “labor shortage” narrative, the numbers don’t agree with him either:
In April of 2014, our U6 unemployment rate was at 12.3%. This is the real unemployment number that takes into account people who have quit looking for a job because they are too discouraged and people who are only working part time but would like a full time job.
Our labor participation rate, or amount of working aged people actually working, is the lowest its been…ever. There are over 50 million working aged Americans who are out of the job.
There are 4,280,000 Americans age 25-29 who are not working. It used to be people in this age group bought a home, started a family, and lived comfortably while holding manufacturing jobs.
The National Association of Manufacturers has 8 regional offices but is based in Washington DC. Four of the states that have a NAM regional office are in top ten for highest unemployment: New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois and California. Heck, Detroit’s unemployment rate is still at 17.7%!
Even though we had a major recession and haven’t seemed to recover from it yet, we’re still handing out over 1 million life time work permits to foreign workers every single year. If Mr. Timmons got what he wanted, this yearly number would more than double.
Sitting along side Mr. Timmons at the forum was Tom Donahue, CEO of the Chamber of Commerce. His group has been working really hard to pass a foreign worker importation bill. So hard in fact, this week Mr. Donahue had the audacity to out right threaten Republicans. He told them not to come looking for more money until they passed the Senate bill that would add over 30 million new workers to our labor pool in the next 10 years. He even called anyone who didn’t like this piece of legislation “crazy!”
If caring for American workers is crazy, you can throw us all into the institution, Mr. Donahue!
The Chamber of Commerce spent over $74 million lobbying in 2013 with "immigration reform" being their number one priority. NAM spent over $7.6 million. Wouldn't it make sense to take a portion of the money spent trying to convince law makers they need more foreign workers and put that money towards finding and training the millions of unemployed workers who are already here?
I sincerely hope that Mr. Timmons was not exaggerating his 600,000 figure. America needs a strong manufacturing sector to get us back on the right track. But bringing in millions of workers to fill these jobs only helps a few, including Mr. Timmons and Mr. Donahue, not American workers and not the future of the American middle class.
Are you an under or unemployed manufacturer? Contact Jay Timmons below to send him your resume!
The National Association of Manufacturers:
733 10th Street NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20001
Toll Free: (1-800) 814-8468
Phone: (202) 637-3000
Fax: (202) 637-3182
Jay Timmons on Social Media:
MELANIE OUBRE is the Local Activism Coordinator for NumbersUSA
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