Evidence of what?


The Los Angeles Times has published a snarky editorial  claiming 'hard evidence of an unusually tough job market that continues to disappoint nearly three years into an economic recovery' because 500,000 people from across the country have applied for a mere 3,000 positions becoming available in the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach — the nation's busiest.

This is tendentious at best. These applications are like free lottery tickets, with a large payoff, a 1 in 167 chance. The immediate prize is a part time job with an hourly wage of up to $28 an hour, and a floor above $21 an hour.  The really big bonus jackpot is a chance to go full—time, since the lucky part—timers will form the pool from which future full time positions are drawn.

Instead of illustrating the misery of current job markets, the flood of applications illustrates the abuses of the labor unions. I don't know the exact figures in Los Angeles, but in the Port of Oakland, it is not at all uncommon for the workers to make six figure incomes. Mind you, these are not the stevedore jobs of On the Waterfront. The guys with cargo hooks and bent backs are long—gone. Sitting in a cab running a crane is pretty comfy and safe work, and it doesn't even require a high school diploma.

By enforcing a monopoly on the labor supply, the unions are able to blackmail the ports into paying wages far above the market level, which means that they are extremely attractive. Alluring enough to tempt hundreds of thousands of people who aren't necessarily unemployed, underemployed, or hurting.

I wonder if anybody working at the Los Angeles Times has applied for these jobs? If not, it just means that they are poorly informed. But that would be no surprise, would it?

Posted by Thomas  8 25 04