Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas trees and Wisconsiners in Chicago

Here is an article about guys from Central Wisconsin (one place where I grew up) migrating to Chicago (the other place I grew up) to sell Christmas trees. Central Wisconsin is an amazing place, with a diverse economy based on small manufacturing, small tourism, antique sales, dairy farms, potatoes, vegetables, and above all pine trees, both for paper milling and for sale as Christmas trees. I have never known it as a prosperous area, but the mixed economy seemed to offer a stable livelihood for many people. According to this article though, the area is now hemorrhaging jobs, which is what drives these men to seek migrant work selling trees in Chicago. It's interesting to read about intra-US migrants, because for so long the migrant and agrarian-linked jobs in the country have gone to foreigners. I wonder if in the end this aspect of the economy's readjustment is a good thing, because it will bring more US nationals into the more basic, agrarian-linked jobs, and perhaps these jobs will become better-paid in relation to other jobs. Or maybe not. Either way, if you haven't gotten your Christmas tree yet, be sure to throw the salesman a little extra cash so he can have a nice holiday with his family.

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