Here's how I arrive at the hypothesis that in an average year (call it a 5% unemployment year), you'd need a significant jump in wage rates to fill the gap if access to foreign labor were shut down.I'm not against higher wages at ski resorts. I think people are
A. Overstating the impact foreign workers have on wages. Vail might be highly profitable, but the small businesses in resort towns offering similar jobs certainly aren't. If Stan's ski shop is paying their rental counter worker $12/hr or Joe's deli their sandwich maker $11/hr; what incentive does Vail have to pay much more? In my experience locals tend to choose the small businesses over the big resorts because they tend to have shorter off seasons.
B. Covid aside, look at the unemployment rates over the past twenty + years. It's never been all that bad outside of the 2009 economic crisis. Service industry workers aren't going to choose destinations where the cash tills ring six months a year at best over secure 12 month income in high density population centers. Young people have been leaving resort areas for decades.
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-Most agree that resorts/resort towns do not have the bodies wanted/needed.
-As you mention, HR departments understand a modest wage increase isn't enough to entice domestic labor to come work for them.
This leaves one last sunroom l solution: raise wages a lot - until you get the labor pool you need.
This year, all bets are off. Demand for labor will be down, but supply is a mystery (likely no foreign labor (?) offset by more available domestic local/quasi local labor available).
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