Help Wanted!

By Christopher Harper

As you drive throughout central Pennsylvania, it’s difficult not to notice something other than fall foliage: Help wanted signs abound throughout the region.

On Route 11, which snakes along the countryside near my home, more than 70 signs seeking employees dominate the highway. 

Fred Gaffney, executive director of Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce, told a local newspaper that he’s at a loss to say why. “This is a workforce crisis unlike anything I’ve seen in my years at the Chamber,” Gaffney said.

Recently, a local job fair featured more than 500 openings from 25 employers. But only 40 people attended, Gaffney said. Businesses in the area have raised their minimum wages to $15 an hour and higher. 

What’s happening near my home is occurring throughout the country. According to the National Federation of Independent Business, 67% of small businesses reported hiring or trying to hire in September, and 42% raised compensation. But a record 51% still have openings they couldn’t fill.

The Wall Street Journal postulated in a recent editorial: “So what’s causing the worker shortage? One possible culprit is government and employer vaccine mandates that set ultimatums for workers. President Biden’s vaccine order first applied to nursing homes, which lost jobs in the month. Many states and school districts have also imposed mandates, and state and local education employment fell 161,000. The White House claims its vaccine mandates will boost job growth, but not if unvaccinated workers quit.”

The lack of workers has clearly become a drag on the economy. Ships are backed up at ports partly because there aren’t workers to unload and transport goods to where they need to go. Labor and material shortages are delaying projects and increasing prices in the home-building sector.

Another factor is that it doesn’t pay to work in some cases when the government provides enough money to keep people off the job. 

For my wife and me, it’s meant postponing work on our new home because there aren’t enough painters and other tradespeople to perform needed maintenance. For example, we can’t get anyone to paint the exterior of our house until next spring.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration seemingly has no strategy to solve the problems.

In an interview with Business Insider, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh has a lame analysis:

–People are afraid to go back to work because of the Delta variant.

–People have moved out of areas where employers are hiring.

–People are rethinking their attitude toward work—what one psychologist has called the “the great resignation.”

“I think a lot of people are re-imagining or rethinking about what’s next for them,” Walsh said. The pandemic has changed people’s views about work, causing them to “ask existential questions about their purpose and happiness,” Business Insider noted. 

Whatever the case, it would appear that the labor conflagration won’t be solved anytime soon, particularly under this administration.

I guess I may have to get out the work clothes and ladder to ponder the existential question of whether to paint or not to paint.

First Round Pick Update 1969 League

The season has started in the 1969 draft league and other than the opening series between the Dodgers and Giants all team have played at least one series, some have finished two and I was curious how the 1st round draft picks of each team have done so far.

9 Position players and 7 pitchers were taken in the 1st round

Here are their current stats

PlayerTeamGABRH2B3BHRRBIBBSOSBCSAVGOBPSLGOBS
Rico PetrocelliNYY62424114.167.167.292.458
Willie McCoveyLAD619361172.316.500.368.868
Harmon KillebrewCle515983752.533,6501.1331,783
Carl YazstremskiMont382221.250.400.250.650
Pete RoseSea625510121522.400.444.7201,164
Frank HowardWash6197105961.526.6671.3161.982
Curt FloodStL5194511411.263.333.421.754
Joe MorganMin515113.067.125.067.192

Clearly Rose and Howard and Killebrew are ruling the roost at this point but so far Joe Morgan is not living up to his potential.

As for the Pitchers…

PitcherTeamGGSCGWLPCTSVBSIPHRERHRBBKBAWHIPERA
Jim PalmerSF0
Andy MessersmithBalt22111.5001512884513.2141.134.80
Phil NiekroCSox22102.000162054137.3031.442.25
Steve CarltonNYM117641114.2071.001.29
Jerry KoosmanOak1101.0005666134.2861.8010.80
Ferguson JenkinsAtl1101.000595335.3912,405.40
Gaylord PerryPit115733114.3181.605.40

Amazingly the pitchers taken in the 1st round are a combined 1-5 in seven starts. Only Niekro and Carlton have ERA’s that are respectable and three pitchers (Niekro, Perry and Jenkins) are all allowing batters to hit over .300 against them. Presumably over the course of the season these numbers will improve.

Now there were 16 players on the various rosters before the 1st round of the draft. Each team was allowed to keep one player from their franchise before the draft. Ten Batter and six pitchers were kept. So how have they done?

PlayerTeamGABRH2B3BHRRBIBBSOSBCSAVGOBPSLGOBS
Bobby BondsSF311 22 1 12 21.182.308 .455.763
Rusty StaubMont393321.333.455.333.788
Boog PowellBalt62547 143.280,379.280.659
Tommy HarperSea62366133411.261.346.381.737
Reggie JacksonOak6191521 157.263.440.474.914
Hank AaronAtl31022 1333.200.357.250.607
Ed BrinkmanWash6241 81 15121.333.360.500.860
Roberto ClementePit31013141.300.500.300.800
Rod CarewTwins621351332.238.269.240.509

It’s worth noting that Even though Eddie Brinkman is clearly doing best with Harper and Jackson as honorable mentions he was primarily drafted for his defense. Here are his stats at SS

PlayerTeamPosGGSInnTotal chancesPOAEDPFPCTRange Factor
Ed BrinkmanWashSS6653371423051.0006,28

Not too shabby at all.

As for the six pitchers

PitcherTeamGGSCGWLPCTSVBSIPHRERHRBBKBAWHIPERA
Fritz PetersonNYY111101.0009311125.1000.561.00
Don SuttonLA
Sam McDowellCle22111.50014 2/31955 214.3221.433.07
Tommy JohnCSox11101.0005822142.3642.403.60
Tom SeaverNYM111101.00093 74.2571.780.00
Bob GibsonStL22111.5001710551314.1690.762.65

This is the opposite of the 1st round picks with almost every starter with a win under his belt a combined 5-2.