The reason we have so many jobs open is that we don’t have enough workers. That’s why the Biden administration needs to make the immigration process easier and faster. Sure, many immigrants will flock to our urban areas, but many others come from rural, agrarian backgrounds. They are familiar with many aspects of the work in rural areas: farming, food production and manufacturing.
We also lack affordable housing here for workers. Real estate is at a premium, and real estate agents are begging for inventory to sell. Mr. Biden has earmarked $213 billion for housing in his American Jobs Plan. All new housing developments in rural America probably need to be public-private partnerships. Because of the market, most builders are drawn more strongly to the rapidly growing Des Moines metropolitan area. Why build five houses in our rural communities when you can build 50 or more in the metro?
We do have local builders who prefer to work in town, but they can’t find enough labor. One local builder is booked a year out. The labor shortage is so serious here that it is difficult not only to find someone to build a house but also to find a plumber, a roofer or a handyman.