The Migrant Job-Seeker Is Back

IndustrialProduction

A staple from the Great Depression, the migrant job seeker, the man who leaves home one morning and tells his sons to take care of mum as he heads down a long road to find work, is back in America, sadly.

WSJ: Laid off from a construction job, Mr. Ryan finally found work last month playing the wolfman at Clark’s Trading Post, a tourist attraction in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. For $12 an hour, about half what he made before, he dons furry rags, a coonskin cap and an eye patch and jumps out of the woods when the Trading Post’s steam train chugs by, snarling and growling at passengers.

The job is nearly two hours north of his home in Pittsfield, N.H., too far to commute. So Mr. Ryan sleeps in an old, mould-ridden cottage with no running water that someone lets him use free. “These days, you have to do things you never thought you would,” says the 52-year-old. “You have to go to extremes.”

Of course, our country is in just about the worst shape right now, in terms of labour mobility. Between the negative effects of employer-based healthcare and all the families underwater on their homes, travelling for new opportunities may be as hard as its ever been.

And travelling for a job wearing a coonskin cap and an eye patch seems particularly depressing.

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