The U.S. is experiencing a labor shortage that’s partly fueled by a drop-off in immigration, which ground to a halt during the coronavirus pandemic.
By some estimates, the U.S. now has an 2 million fewer immigrants than it would have if the pace had stayed the same.
That’s helped lead to a desperate scramble for workers in many sectors, from meatpacking to homebuilding.
It’s also contributing to supply shortages and price increases.
Just 10 miles from the Rio Grande, Mike Helle’s farm in Texas is so short of immigrants that he’s replaced hundreds of acres of labor-intensive leafy greens with crops that can be harvested by machinery.
He’s also increased pay for his workers, who are almost exclusively immigrants.