Unemployment

We spent our vacation in Park City. The biggest issue there is not enough staff. They literally can’t hire enough people. That is a small microcosm of what is happening at a bigger scale.

There are multiple pieces to this puzzle Large company greed and not paying attention to the next generation of shareholders. Immigration policies have made it impossible and fearful to hire people who come back and forth each season for seasonal jobs. We need more people for the jobs available and without people to hire that stops growth. At one point we will start replacing jobs with automation and in turn, growth still slows down because there will be many people without jobs and income which is not good either. The third issue is housing. I will toss in lawsuits at one point but here is what is going on.

Over the last few years, Vail Properties has acquired multiple ski resorts. It is never easy rolling a bunch of independent operations into one. You have to get everyone working on the same backend software to start and cultures are quite different at every location. Vail Properties seems to be a bit tone-deaf so instead of working with each spot to continue a community spirit they have just plowed through without holding up to certain promises made. What happens when companies don’t live up to their promises is costly lawsuits. A waste of time and capital when if they had done the right thing they would not be having to fend off a legal suit. Wouldn’t it be smarter to spend that money towards doing the right thing or hire wages? I would love to see the data when the dust settles but quite sure nobody would ever analyze that.

Second, they are barely paying minimum wage. How can anyone in an upscale area that is far from other locations actually survive on those wages? This is basic economics.

Third, housing. People can not afford to live on low wages and certainly can’t afford housing. There have been several businesses in other areas of the country that have been hurt by this as well. You can not expect people to travel two hours a day back and forth for less than minimum wage particularly when there is plenty of capital to make those changes. Do the right thing.

This short term behavior might make their current shareholders happy in the short term but the next generation of shareholders, Generation Z, and Millenials believe in doing the right thing such as fair pay and less profit for companies and that means less income for the people at the top.

The backlash to the immigration policies put forth by this administration will force companies to rethink their programming workforce overseas but when it comes to people at ski resorts, restaurants, and stores in physical locations we are going to see it get worse.

CEO’s from Vail and any large retail company needs to start thinking differently. Toss in restaurants, how do help them survive when paying minimum wages is important but perhaps rethinking the tax structure so they can make a profit? We need to see leadership that understands expectations from the next generation including an economy that is based on the ability for everyone to work at fair wages, with a roof over their heads and with people who are able to come here and get employment that creates growth for our economy. Zero employment is not a bonus.

This might have taken place at a ski resort, which might seem like high-class problems, but there are jobs there that people could have if Vail was thinking differently. Small microcosms generally are a picture of what is happening at a much larger scale.