An unemployment problem, as normally understood, occurs when lots of people cannot find work. Northfield, a city in Minnesota with a population of 20,000, exemplifies the troubles that arise at the opposite end of the spectrum: when unemployment is so low that lots of businesses and organisations cannot find workers. Along with Utah, Minnesota has the lowest unemployment rate of any state in America at 2.1%. And in Minnesota, Northfield has just about the lowest unemployment rate of any city, a mere 1.2%.
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If an authoritarian regime were to report such a figure, it would elicit groans of disbelief. In Northfield the groans are of inconvenience. Police officers, teachers and factory workers are all in short supply. The local hospital needs nursing assistants and surgical technicians. The city’s main retirement…