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The Fake Skills Shortage

Posted on November 26th, 2012 at 0:24 by John Sinteur in category: News -- Write a comment

[Quote]:

Kudos to Adam Davidson for some much-needed mythbusting about the supposed skills shortage holding the US economy back. Whenever you see some business person quoted complaining about how he or she can’t find workers with the necessary skills, ask what wage they’re offering. Almost always, it turns out that what said business person really wants is highly (and expensively) educated workers at a manual-labor wage. No wonder they come up short.

And this dovetails perfectly with one of the key arguments against the claim that much of our unemployment is “structural”, due to a mismatch between skills and labor demand. If that were true, you should see soaring wages for those workers who do have the right skills; in fact, with rare exceptions you don’t.

So what you really want to ask is why American businesses don’t feel that it’s worth their while to pay enough to attract the workers they say they need.

  1. And Adam Davidson’s article offers an answer: they feel they can’t afford to. They want their products to remain cheap and have competition from foreign manufacturers with lower labor costs.

    And then Davidson goes on to say that we need some kind of new social compact between workers and employers but gives no suggesgion what that might look like given the constraints. What, workers are going to promise to Buy American only with their higher wages? Or what? Learn new skills they need on the weekend? Promise to go away quietly when the jobs finally are moved overseas? One wonders.

  2. In the past, higher wages fueled a strong US economy. Have the rules really changed? Isn’t the American worker the best employee in the world? I don’t think they’re even given a chance to prove it anymore. America won’t survive if it stops believing in the US people.

  3. Another interesting thing, many balance sheets of U.S. corporations are absolutely stuffed with cash right now. They seem to feel they have nothing to invest in.

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