There has been a lot of discussion during the past few weeks about jobs and workers. As policymakers in Washington, D.C., wrestle with ideas to reform the U.S. immigration system, it may help to understand why these are important topics.
For the entire time I was in Congress (2011-16), the discussion centered around jobs and the policy reforms needed to help companies create them. But now, as the economy continues to grow, the conversation has shifted from discussing jobs to discussing workers. There simply are not enough of them.
The current U.S. workforce is aging out of the market—about 10,000 baby boomers leave the workforce to retire every day (and this will continue for about 15 more years). Adding to this is the fact the U.S. birthrate is below replacement levels with an average 1.86 children per couple. The U.S. needs a birthrate of 2.1 to adequately replace the population without immigration.
We know what the problem is—the fix is much more difficult. This especially is true when many people believe if employers paid people more, they would have all the workers they need. This brings me to the U.S. roofing industry's worker shortage.