Cape Cod hires Serbs, Jamaicans

Summer jobs on Cape Cod are filled by college students — from Eastern Europe, writes James Kirchick in The Atlantic. A restaurant  hires Jamaicans on nine-month visas. The Massachusetts unemployment rate is 7.6 percent, but Cape businesses say they can’t find competent Americans to fill seasonal jobs.

Foreigners work harder say bosses and employees.

“They don’t ask about pay, overtime, take long breaks. They just do it,” Alexandra Ivanov, a 21-year-old Bulgarian currently spending her third summer in Provincetown working at a fudge shop and a clothing store, tells me about her fellow foreign laborers. “I don’t think Americans could do it like us.”

“We don’t see too many coming in for work,” David Oliver, owner of Cape Tip Sportswear Company, tells me when I ask him about the state’s 265,600 unemployed residents. Meanwhile, “every day, two or three” foreign students come into his shop looking to add another job to their repertoire. “In general, the foreigners work harder and are much more focused than the American ones,” he says.

The Lobster Pot restaurant in Provincetown staple employs 34 Jamaicans on the H-2B visa. (It’s a temporary visa, but workers keep coming back year after year.)

Three years ago, the last time there was a shortage of H-2B visas, he hired 30 Americans through a labor firm. On the very first day, McNulty says, he had to let four of them go because they “weren’t skilled” or “got into trouble with the cops.” That summer, the restaurant considered shutting down its lunch service due to the foreign worker shortage.

I visited Cape Cod seven or eight years ago for an economics ‘n journalism conference. All the hotel employees came from overseas; most were energetic, ambitious college students from Eastern Europe.

Unemployment was much lower then. You’d think U.S. college students — or unemployed adults — would be willing to work low-wage temporary jobs rather than sit at home.  Are the business owners unwilling to hire people who expect overtime and breaks?

A bill that would force employers to “e-verify” their workers’ legal status will drive away 70 percent of the agricultural workforce, farmers warn. Americans won’t pick crops.

Mike Carlton, director of labor relations for the Florida Fruit and Vegetables Association, . . . said his group monitored hiring by citrus growers, who are required to offer jobs to Americans before they can turn to the H-2A program for temporary foreign laborers.

In one sample, Mr. Carlton said, 344 Americans came forward to fill 1,800 pickers’ jobs; only eight were still working at the end of the two-month season.

Americans can earn the same money flipping burgers or cleaning hotel rooms, the farmers say.

Ain't no cure for the summertime blues

Well-paying summer jobs and prestigious internships have vanished, reports the New York Times. Parents can’t afford to fund “art tours of Tuscany” for college students. The young are getting restless.

To a high-achieving generation whose schedules were once crammed with extracurricular activities meant to propel them into college, it feels like an empty summer — eerie, and a bit scary.

“Things have changed drastically,” said Ron Alsop, author of “The Trophy Kids Grow Up: How the Millennial Generation Is Shaking Up the Workplace,” a book that only last year portrayed young workers as entitled and in a hurry. “It has to be a huge wake-up call for this generation.”

Numbers provide the backdrop to the story — not just the grimly familiar national unemployment rate, 9.5 percent in June, but the even scarier, less publicized unemployment figure for 16- to 19-year-olds, which has hit 24 percent, up from 16.1 percent two years ago. Internships available to college students have fallen 21 percent since last year, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Stop blaming parents for young workers’ sense of entitlement, writes Jessica Grose at XX Factor. It’s the economy, stupid.

For a while now, Generation Y has been portrayed as a bunch of sneaker-wearing lazybones who skateboard to the office and demand a four-day work week. But I would argue that the way Gen-Y workers used to behave had nothing to do with indulgent parents who told us we were infallible. The way young workers behaved in the first half of the decade had everything to do with the economy. In the mid-aughts, people of all ages were being entitled and demanding of their employers … because they could be. In a market where jobs are abundant, it’s logical for workers to try to get the most perks possible—whether or not their Mommies told them they were special.

By the way, federally funded retraining doesn’t help older workers get new jobs or increase their pay, concludes a Labor Department study. I remember similar results in the ’80s. Job training is very hard to do effectively; it’s even harder to predict the real “jobs of the future.”

Funemployed? Take a starve-cation, advises Iowahawk.

Teens vie with adults for summer jobs

Teens are competing with laid-off adults and retirees for summer jobs, reports USA Today.  Faced with a higher minimum wage, employers are choosier about who they hire. Or they’re just not hiring as many people.