The Unemployed Should Be On To Houston: A New Diaspora?

The devastation in Houston is overwhelming and Texas Governor Greg Abbott is estimating costs to recover will be $180 – 200 Billon. No small potatoes…and they are going to be short of laborers to do the work…and would like to employ the undocumented laborers all ready on site. That’s another story I would like to post when I have gotten my post DACA repeal blood pressure under control.

But in the meantime, here’s something from the Houston trades:

It will take an army of workers to reconstruct a vast swath of Southeast Texas, including the sprawling metropolis of Houston, that was devastated by Hurricane Harvey.

More than 200,000 homes sustained damage in the storm, including more than 13,500 that were destroyed, according to early local estimates that don’t provide solid numbers for some of the hardest-hit areas. Leaders in the construction industry have begun sounding alarms that there will not be enough American-born workers to rebuild as quickly as needed.

“If they would relax the rules (rules against undocumented residents for federal recovery work), honestly, that would be great, we could use it,” said Jeffrey Nielsen, executive vice president of the Houston Contractors Association, whose members include the city’s largest firms that build roads, bridges and other public works.

Nielsen said that even before Harvey hit, almost every member of the association was grappling with a shortage of workers. With a crushing list of jobs now growing by the day, thousands need to be hired — and fast.

Nielsen said he and other construction industry officials were told at a weekend briefing that roughly 30 percent of all roads in and around Houston will remain impassable without some construction work.

“The truth is, there are not a lot of people jumping up and down to do civil construction work in Texas. It’s hot, and these jobs are pouring concrete or, worse, hot asphalt,” Nielsen said. “That’s the reality of it, and we need more people than ever.”

So first question…there are hundreds of able bodied unemployed people in Milwaukee and other cities…there are hundreds of unemployed people in West Virginia and Kentucky. Many of them probably have the basic skills to do much of the demolition and basic work in repairing infrastructure and real estate. Why is no one working to bring the labor to the jobs? Really? Where are all of those famous FEMA trailers that could house imported labor? Why aren’t contractors looking outside of Houston and Texas? Why isn’t FEMA suggesting importing workers? Why not???


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