Some NH towns are below 2% for unemployment now. As a consequence, you will be seeing more people working who have bad attitudes and/or have no idea what they are doing.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s a good thing that no one, neither their families nor the government, has to work to support them. Even partial survival in the workforce is a benefit for everyone concerned. It’s just that I want you to remember to be of good cheer when you are being served by knuckleheads, grifters, and punks. It’s all for the best. It is making it harder on charities that rely on volunteers, though. They increasingly have to turn to retired people, who have bad backs and bad digestions, to get their jobs done. It doesn’t make low unemployment a bad thing. It’s just a downside.
There is also a growing movement of people on disability working under the table, because they can get hired and make extra. I want to be supportive of everyone obeying the law and not abusing the system, but in the longer view I am not that upset. First, it’s not likely to last forever. The economy is chugging along, but things happen, like China having a new coronavirus and suddenly depressing world trade; it’s hard to imagine that there won’t be at least a minor downturn in the next few years.* Secondly, people get reminded how having a job and doing something useful is satisfying and will strive to keep it even if growth slows. Some will enter legal employment programs (MEAD in NH) that allow them to keep their insurance, so they are not only employed, but even paying a bit in taxes. That is psychologically a good thing. I had psychologist friend years ago who followed these things, and insisted that requiring people to pay something in taxes, even if it means giving them more in cash benefits, was good for both the recipients and the national morale of everyone feeling that they are in this together. He was very big on not helping the poor with “invisible” benefits like housing and Medicaid, which don’t have clear dollar signs. Those, he said, make the rich feel better but do less for the poor – and the national understanding – than benefits with dollar signs. “People understand dollar signs very well,” he used to say. “They don’t understand safety nets nearly as well.” I can’t prove this to you and I may be deluding myself here. But that does seem intuitively true.
A few will even re-enter the legal workforce, having found a slot in a business that needs them and is willing to put up with their limitations. Ex-cons, the dull or socially clumsy, and obviously-pregnant women have initial entry barriers to employment that are higher than the continuing barriers. Joe Bob Briggs over at Taki’s Mag discusses that here.
Back to my original point: rejoice that the irritating SOB isn’t sitting at home waiting for his mother or girlfriend to bring him food, like a limpet.
*The reader should know that my economic predictions are consistently wrong.