Dec 6 2012
08:37 am

According to this recent New York Times Magazine article, "The secret behind this skills gap is that it's not a skills gap at all."

Instead, "Many skilled workers have simply chosen to apply their skills elsewhere rather than work for less, and few young people choose to invest in training for jobs that pay fast-food wages."

Even when companies are willing to train workers, "far too few graduate high school with the basic math and science skills" needed to compete.

Couldn't remember if this article has been discussed here before, so apologies if it has. It's an interesting look at how technology and downward wage pressures from outsourcing have changed manufacturing employment in America.

EricLykins's picture

Do the economics support

Do the economics support flood of tech manufacturing back to the states or is this just a little trickle in the name brand damage control?

Apple has taken a lot of heat over the past couple of years after a rash of suicides at plants in China run by Foxconn drew attention to working conditions at the world’s largest contract supplier.

EricLykins's picture

This is important because it

This is important because it will be a primary focus in the GOP plan to reconnect with the "47%" over the next few years. Marco Rubio, two days ago:

The key to a vibrant middle class is an abundance of jobs that pay enough so that workers can provide for themselves and their families, enjoy leisure time, save for
retirement and pay for their children’s education so they can grow up and earn even more than their parents.

Today, too many Americans cannot find jobs like these, and in fact some cannot find any job at all. There are two main reasons for this.

First, the weakened American economy is not creating enough jobs of any kind, especially middle class jobs. And second, we have a “Skills Shortage”. Too many Americans do not have the skills they need to do the new middle class jobs.

That sounds pretty, but taking a CAD class or two isn't going to keep a typical family from being priced out of good school districts, and the Republican party policy specifics underlying Rubio's vague promise to grow a weak economy have had plenty of time to be shown demonstrably Lafferable, as flimsy as a bell curve on a bevnap.

It's time to get serious about the wage gap.

EricLykins's picture

heh. DeMint's move to

DeMint's move to Heritage shows that conservatives aren't really interested in reevaluating this worldview, despite what you may have heard about Republican "soul-searching.

Inky's picture

Don't know what a slide rule is for

How many jobs really need advanced placement math and science skills? Most of those I know who studied business in college never have to use statistics or some of the other "disciplines" they were forced to learn. Not every child is born to be a scientist or engineer. There are a lot of skilled jobs that just require on the job training and an average level of skill in use of tools or machinery.

fischbobber's picture


In order to become a journeyman welder one must have a fairly extensive knowledge of trig. I tutored a guy for the union test one time and asked him why they were asking him the questions. As he explained the process of welding it quickly became clear that without this knowledge, the weld would be weak and not likely to hold the pressure at the seam. This creates problems for the general public, due to exposure of leaking compounds, in everything from sewage plants to nuclear power facilities.

Anyone can fire up a welding torch and do a job that can literally destroy a region.

I use algebra, trig, chemistry and physics every day. I don't have much use for people that don't.

jcgrim's picture

The skills gap myth

Businesses have been complaining about a skills gap for 100 years but the current "crisis" is misplaced.
Here is the NLRB 20 year prediction table of occupations with the most job growth:


Out of the top 20,only 4 require a college degree.

bizgrrl's picture

Interesting chart. Doesn't

Interesting chart. Doesn't appear we think much of our lower level personal care positions. They appear to be the lowest paid except for fast food/restaurant workers.

#2. Retail Salespersons - $20,670
#3. Home Health Aides - $20,560
#4. Personal Care Aides - $19,640
#5. Office Clerks, General - $26,610
#6. Combined Food Preparation and Serving Workers, Including Fast Food - $17,950
#12. Childcare Workers - $19,300
#14. Cashiers - $18,500
#24. Waiters and Waitresses - $18,330

EricLykins's picture

"In the U.S. the market for

"In the U.S. the market for cheap labor is booming... behind bars."

Buy direct online. Made in America!

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