Friday, January 15, 2010

Scene from the real estate bust



I had a late breakfast today with my sister at the place above, which is located in a working class town nearby. $11.50 for two orders of scrambled eggs with diced tomatoes and onion, one order of Spanish sausage, a cheese-filled pastry, and two caf├ęs con leche. That photo was snapped at about 10:30am today, right after we left. Those are a couple of migrant day workers walking in. Chances are, they won't get any work today. Contractors usually pick up their illegal laborers earlier in the morning.

Nearby, there were a couple of pairs of day laborers lingering, waiting for work. At the height of the real estate bubble, there would be dozens.

3 comments:

ironrailsironweights said...

Same thing's happened at a 7-11 not too far from me. The number of day laborers (not sure if they're Mexican or Salvadoran) is way down from a couple years ago.

Peter

Nick Rowe said...

The day laborers who used to hang out by the Sherwin Williams are all gone.

I suppose one good side-effect of this recession is that many illegal immigrants went home.

Driving past them every morning, I have conflicted feelings though. On the one hand, they should not be in this country illegally, and they either cheat on taxes or steal identities to work here. They also take jobs that Americans COULD take. I worked fast-food as a young man so I don't see why your average American can't do the same.

On the other hand, illegal immigrants are willing to work long hours in tough jobs for low pay send most of it home to their families while they live austere lives. That work ethic has to be admired. Perhaps we can trade Mexico one welfare recipient for one willing worker.

The bust in San Francisco is palpable. The busses to the financial district were nearly empty for months. They have filled back up again because of service cuts and some rehiring, but the number of vacant commercial properties I ride by is astounding. We've got four see-through buildings outside my office window.

In Bay Area shopping malls, a lot of the stores are boarded up. One mall had only TWO restaurants operating in the food court.

CRE is the next big crisis coming down the pike. It's almost here!

DaveinHackensack said...

"They also take jobs that Americans COULD take. I worked fast-food as a young man so I don't see why your average American can't do the same."

Right, so did I. And there are still parts of this country where you see American teens and young adults doing these jobs. And as NY Times columnist Bob Herbert has noted, in the process of lamenting the high unemployment rate of African American teens (without connecting the dots to immigration at all), those sorts of jobs are often stepping stones to better jobs down the road.

"Perhaps we can trade Mexico one welfare recipient for one willing worker."

We can't though, of course. Instead, we get our native-born welfare recipients and the illegal immigrant workers. And the work ethic doesn't seem to translate to the next generation when illegals have kids here.