Saturday, December 17, 2011

Here is an objective view of our persistent Unemployment problem that people don't want to face because it is too difficult to address BUT is the primary problem in the Long Run...

While politicians and partisans of all stripes, literally and figuratively, howl at the moon in terms of blame for our economic woes, I prefer students block that out and look at root causes. 

Below is an excellent commentary on a significant part (I believe) of our labor employment problem in the US.  Much of it is self induced. By that I mean through the collective actions of individuals, government and industry, we have put ourselves "in between a rock and a hard place" because of choice and policy. 

The over-arching theme of the article is we don't have enough skilled workers for the manufacturing we do have in the US, and too many college graduates underemployed because they have degrees in either (1) fields that are ALREADY declining or (2) in subjects that have little "market value". 

Here are some excerpts, but I encourage you to read the whole thing (short and informative).  Instead of joining in political shouting matches that have no end (which is easy to do intellectually), please learn about this important issue and shout instead for solutions to the ACTUAL problems, which is harder to do but is the only way out of our doldrums LONG TERM....

Wanted: Blue-Collar Workers


“There are very few unskilled jobs any more,” says Wright. “You can’t make it any more just pushing a button. These jobs require thinking and ability to act autonomously. But such people are not very thick on the ground.” Among the affected industries will be the auto companies, which lost some 230,000 jobs in the recession. David Cole, chairman of the Center for Automotive Research, predicts that as the industry tries to hire more than 100,000 workers by 2013, it will start running out of people with the proper skills as early as next year. “The ability to make things in America is at risk,” says Jeannine Kunz, director of professional development for the Society of Manufacturing Engineers in Dearborn, Michigan. If the skilled-labor shortage persists, she fears, “hundreds of thousands of jobs will go unfilled by 2021.”

Some of Gibson’s fellow manufacturers blame the shortage of skilled workers on the decline of vocational education, which has been taking place for two decades now. Such training is unpopular for several reasons. For one thing, many working-class and minority children were once steered into vocational programs even if they had aptitude for other things, an unfair practice that many people haven’t forgotten. Today’s young people, moreover, tend to regard craft work—plumbing, masonry, and carpentry, for instance—as unfashionable and dead-end, no doubt because they’ve been instructed to aspire to college. “People go to college not because they want to but because their parents tell them that’s the thing to do,” says Jeff Kirk, manager of human relations at Kaiser Aluminum’s plant in Heath, Ohio. “Kids need to become aware of the reality that much of what they learn in school is not really needed in the workplace. They don’t realize a pipe fitter makes three times as much as a social worker.”

The reason for the low rewards is that many of the skills learned in college are now in oversupply. A recent study by the economic forecasting firm EMSI found that fewer computer programmers have jobs now than in 2008. Through 2016, EMSI estimates, the number of new graduates in the information field will be three times the number of job openings.""
Source: New Geography
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