Economists have long been talking about the day when the bulk of the baby boomer generation finally retires. Economists at the Conference Board now say those retirements are imminent, and they’re going to contribute to a labor shortage in the United States in the next 10 to 15 years. And that spells opportunity for younger workers.
Prison inmates are working on a Vidalia onion farm in southeast Georgia. It’s part of a state program to fill empty farm jobs. The ‘transitional’ inmates packing onions at the Wayne Durrence Farm in Glennville are getting ready to return to the outside world. A part of their paychecks goes to the state to defray incarceration costs.
Two bills to overhaul a federal foreign guest worker program are under consideration by the U.S. Congress. Washington is also considering a law mandating the E-Verify employment check system. Following labor shortages during the spring harvest, Georgia’s agriculture industry is keeping a close eye on these bills.
State officials are eying a North Carolina coop program that makes it easier for small farmers to hire foreign guest workers. Many of Georgia's large growers already employ such workers. The program could help farmers who continue to say Georgia’s new immigration law has scared away migrant workers this summer.
An agriculture industry group estimates a shortage of migrant labor may wind up costing Georgia fruit and vegetable farmers $300 million in crop losses. Officials worry the total economic impact will be even greater if crops from the next harvest are lost.