Despite Unemployment Numbers, Seasonal Jobs Go to Foreign Workers

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

The federal government plans to release new unemployment figures on Friday. Will July's numbers be as dismal as June's? All week, The Takeaway is speaking with experts, employers, and out-of-work Americans about unemployment-related issues. Today, we're discussing foreign workers. With unemployment hovering around 9.2 percent, why do so many seasonal employers choose to hire workers from outside the U.S.?

Shawn McNulty's family owns The Lobster Pot Restaurant, which has been a seasonal staple of Provincetown, Massachusetts for 39 years. McNulty says he hires foreign workers because he can't fill his low wage jobs with Americans. Louise Story, Wall Street and finance reporter for our partner, The New York Times, talks about this trend nationally.


Shawn McNulty and Louise Story

Produced by:

Kristen Meinzer and Jillian Weinberger

Comments [7]

sarah canido

Seasonal jobs don't come with insurance..... that is why most people work the jobs they work.... I would go back to school and work odd jobs for a little while but I need the health insurance for my family....... so it might not be "lazy" but more of a cause & effect.

Aug. 09 2011 10:12 AM

I take offense at the "lazy Americans" comment. I work very hard at two jobs to make ends meet. I think employers are more than happy to let this stigma perpetuate.
The Lobster Pot has been using these seasonal workers for 19 years. It does'nt sound to me like they are making much of an effort to hire Americans.
Don't get me wrong, I don't think that employers should face restrictions in running their business. Running a business is hard enough.
I realize that it may require some legwork, but employers can find American workers that they are satisfied with if they try.
They will not be as desperate and hungry as employees from impoverished nations, who are easily taken advantge of, but will work hard nonetheless.
I am finding it harder and hader to find work and I am sure that it is related to the stigma that American workers have and the reliance on immigrant laborers who are more easily taken advantage of.

Aug. 04 2011 05:41 PM
Jonpaul Barrabee from Detroit

I believe that the employers should have to pay what ever it takes to employ Americans. Then the prices should be passed on to the customers. It makes sense to me that seasonal residents would have to pay more to go to a local restaurant in an area that does not have economic diversity.

Any time I hear people say that they cannot hire Americans to do the work, I believe they are not offering enough money. I am a lawyer and I would work as a laborer in the fields if I was paid enough. Sure I might do it part time but if I was paid enough I would not need to do it full time.

America has gotten used to low prices which are only possible by exploiting someone somewhere. It is time to raise the prices so that people are not exploited.

Aug. 04 2011 01:07 PM
cheers from miami

The summer jobs offered to the foreigners are not offered to Americans. My college educated niece was heavily recruited in Jamaica and was told she would receive a full time job at McDonald's and opportunity for part time work in a Rhode Island resort town. The reality is part time hours at McD, mandatory high rent, and preferential hiring at other jobs for Eastern Europeans. She borrowed money in hopes of making more but will return at the end of the summer owing and exploited.

Aug. 04 2011 10:08 AM

Shawn McNulty was misleading in claiming the jobs were offered to Americans, but none applied.

I used to work for a company that did this with H1Bs. They would advertise positions in a newspaper that was intentionally hidden from Americans. They would also write the job description such that if an American were to stumble across it, it’s improbable they would qualify. This way the company could claim they were unable to find an unqualified American, which is a requirement to hire a H1B. It’s a scam.

With touch economic times, the reality is more true than ever. There is no shortage of Americans willing to fill these jobs. I’m extraordinary happy that I no longer work for that company.

Aug. 03 2011 09:26 AM
Amy from Boston

Provincetown and Cape Cod in general have changed a great deal since the seventies. A very large percentage of homes are now seasonal, and the residents are either short term visitors or wealthy folks, neither of whom are going to be interested in restaurant jobs. Housing on the Cape in the summer is very expensive, and as the owner of the Lobster Pot said, has to be provided by the employer. Most people are unwilling or unable to leave their homes and families for nine months of the year, and to live with strangers. There is a comparable situation on Martha's Vineyard, and even businesses that can hire college students for the two months they are available often must provide housing to attract enough talent. Eastern European students are willing to tackle some of the more basic summer jobs, like working in a supermarket, or driving buses. For them, being here is part of the adventure, and also part of their education. We are better off for having the youth of other countries visit us. There are no easy answers. Forcing businesses like The Lobster Pot to remain understaffed doesn't help then unemployed, and in fact could add to the problem.

Aug. 03 2011 09:18 AM
William Owens from Pawling NY

An unintended consequence of bring people from outside the community is that you can also bring their prejudices with them. The workers being brought into Provincetown have continued to evidence an alarming homophobic attitude.

Aug. 03 2011 08:54 AM

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