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The Fake Skills Shortage

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.

by Anonymousreply 6512/02/2012

The West is short of University Graduates who will work for $10 a day. Unlike many other nations....

by Anonymousreply 111/26/2012

They'd rather import workers and pay their visas and relocation expenses vs paying a living wage.

I don't get how that is "cheaper".

by Anonymousreply 211/26/2012

From the comments section:

[quote]There is an easy solution to employers' problem of not finding enough technically qualified workers. Its being implemented right now.

Look up the IRS' H1B Program.

This program allows companies to hire technically qualified workers from overseas, transport them into the United States, and work them in indentured servitude for 1-2 years at wages that are supposed to be equal to the locally prevailing rate.

Abuses abound. The locally prevailing rate is set by the employer who generally underbids by 20-40% of what U.S. workers receive. H1B workers typically work extensive overtime without additional compensation. If H1B workers complain about their working conditions, they can be sent back to their country of origin.

But the pay-off for the H1B worker can be great. Employers often successfully sponsor their H1B's for U.S. citizenship, creating permanent employees with career-long depressed wages. The H1B's lower wages depress the wages of the profession as a whole - native and naturalized.

These foreign-born workers are in no way inferior to their American counterparts, and they contribute greatly to our GDP. There are advantages to scooping up the best and brightest from all over the world.

But the downside is that American workers find better paying jobs in professions that pay better. Being born here, we know the game.

If employers want qualified employees, PAY FOR THEM.

by Anonymousreply 311/26/2012

Corporations used to train their new employees, now they want the employees to pay for training themselves.

When McDonalds can hire college graduates at minimum wage, why would they hire non college graduates?

How long until some university offers a degree in fast food preparation?

by Anonymousreply 411/26/2012


by Anonymousreply 511/26/2012

WTF, r6?

WTF does that have to do with anything?

You're retarded.

by Anonymousreply 711/26/2012

r6 is insane.

by Anonymousreply 911/26/2012

Until Congress passes Corporate Responsibility laws, this will be even worse.

Corporation have to legally be held responsible to respect the Country in which they expect sell goods. They can't just fire everyone, pollute the environment and still expect people to buy their stuff.

by Anonymousreply 1011/26/2012

This is something similar to a report on 60 Minutes a few weeks ago where they talked about a parts making company that sent people to school for months while they interned to teach them the skills to manufacture.

Shockingly, they really didn't discuss the matter of pay until the very end when they casually mentioned after two years of training and difficult work that the trainees would only make twelve dollars an hour!


Why bother? Those sorts of jobs used to make at least thirty dollars an hour and provided a life for people. This has ZERO to do with a "skills shortage" and everything to do with manufacturers not paying their workers a living wage. It blew me out of the water that 60 Minutes would triumphantly report the twelve dollars an hour as some sort of achievement without a hint of irony when whoever reported that story makes millions and wouldn't deign to do that work if they were homeless. It was totally disgusting and galling.

by Anonymousreply 1111/26/2012

This is an age old scam. Hospitals in the 19th century all had nursing schools attached to them; so, the never actually had to hire nurses. Many factories had apprentice programs were young girls would be taught a trade in exchange for food and lodging. The scam was that there was no work once you turned 18 as every other factory had an apprentice program (Why do you think Julie Jordan is so keen to marry Billy Bigalow. He days at the mill are numbered).

by Anonymousreply 1211/26/2012

Look, there is always going to be someone in some poor country willing to do ANY job cheaper. From medical lab work, to fast food order taker, to customer service, legal admin and computer programming. Americans can not compete with wages over seas in any field, plus, manual labor and maintenance workers are being shipped into the USA from overseas now.... So.... either pass laws to change this or eventually LOSE EVERY SINGLE JOB in the USA to cheaper foreign workers.....

There are no safe jobs against the cheap international labor pool.

by Anonymousreply 1311/26/2012

It's not just manufacturers, R11. A friend is married to a plumbing contractor who complains bitterly that he can't find employees who take their jobs seriously.

He hires people from the local vocational training school after they've obviously put some effort into getting themselves trained, so I was surprised they would be as unmotivated as he describes.

He finally admitted that he pays them minimum wage. The only reason they go to work for him is to have some income while they job-hunt. I asked why he thinks his workers should take their job seriously when he doesn't.

The thing that really bothers me is that I don't think he's unusual. He makes around half a million dollars a year and thinks it's perfectly acceptable to pay his workers minimum wage.

by Anonymousreply 1411/26/2012

Can't imagine why those welfare queens aren't chomping at the bit to get themselves trained for those minimum wage jobs, R15.

Something must be wrong with them.

by Anonymousreply 1611/26/2012

Mitt Romney found DL!

by Anonymousreply 1711/26/2012

[quote]Mitt Romney found DL!

Well, it's not like he has anything better to do.

by Anonymousreply 1811/26/2012

If you ARE a gay man, you are a sad excuse for a human being.

More likely you are an 11-year-old home from school.

by Anonymousreply 2011/26/2012

Wall Street has declared paying people a living wage as Communism.

Red staters believe them.

by Anonymousreply 2211/26/2012

Companies large and small are taking their cues from other countries to pay workers as little as possible, and the execs as much as possible. At this rate, we'll be like a third world country in terms of income distribution sooner than we think.

It's the reductio ad absurdum of capitalism.

by Anonymousreply 2411/26/2012

R1 Nails it. I'm a database pro. I went on two interviews with a local law firm. I gave them my rate, they hemmed and hawed.

Finally I pushed them - they admitted they wanted to pay just one quarter market rate. I told them good luck and that they'd get what they paid for.

by Anonymousreply 2511/26/2012

100% correct OP, Krugman. It's total bullshit. And the plan is to drive all wages down. Globalism in action.

by Anonymousreply 2611/26/2012

damn damn damn

by Anonymousreply 2711/26/2012

R3 is delusional. You would sh*t yourself if you see what I do each day..

by Anonymousreply 2811/26/2012

What is r21 mumbling about???

by Anonymousreply 2911/26/2012

Krugman is definitely right. I've been trying to fill an open spot on my team since February and have lost several good candidates because our pay scale has not kept pace with the industry. And it doesn't help that I'm in downtown SF where the cost of living has soared. Position is still open, but not because of a lack of candidates.

American companies are out to protect profits for shareholders and not to create well-paying jobs or grow the economy. CEO salaries are the only ones that ever seem to go up.

by Anonymousreply 3011/26/2012

God Bless The U$A.

by Anonymousreply 3111/26/2012

R29 i'm not mumbling,he read my answer on some other thread(why are so many gay men single),didn't like it,and then called me a horrible person so,THERE! :)

by Anonymousreply 3211/26/2012

R15 is on the Salvation Army thread, talking about "AIDS, 'mos, food stamps, welfare," etc etc

by Anonymousreply 3311/26/2012

[quote]60 Minutes would triumphantly report the twelve dollars an hour as some sort of achievement without a hint of irony when whoever reported that story makes millions and wouldn't deign to do that work if they were homeless. It was totally disgusting and galling.

Yes! True!

by Anonymousreply 3411/26/2012

I started my career making the equivalent of $12.00/HR (we were salaried so the money was quoted in yearly terms) with full benefits and was just ROLLING in dough.

$12.00 today is probably what $4.00 was worth then, and most jobs offer no real benefits to speak of.

by Anonymousreply 3511/26/2012

Somebody on CNN the other day (some spokesperson or whatever, not one of their hosts) said that works in the early years of the auto industry made the equivalent of FIFTY dollars an hour in today's money. But then that was well before corporate globalization.

by Anonymousreply 3611/26/2012

I recently went on a paralegal interview where the office manager proudly informed me the job paid $10.00 / hour, but I got paid for lunch.....

if I only took 10 minutes.

by Anonymousreply 3711/26/2012

The TV news networks are owned by those profiting from low wages. Of course they are going to spin it.

by Anonymousreply 3811/26/2012

[quote]They'd rather import workers and pay their visas and relocation expenses vs paying a living wage.I don't get how that is "cheaper".

They are well aware that many of these workers will come from poverty and poor rights, and will therefore be less likely to complain. Pretty disgusting and exploitative. However, these type of companies present themselves as being diverse employers. Such a lie.

by Anonymousreply 3911/26/2012

That's ridiculous, R37. I made $9/hr with full benefits as a receptionist at a small law firm in Western Mass. -- in 1991! I can't believe what passes as a salary these days.

by Anonymousreply 4011/26/2012

Eventually nobody in the USA is going to be able to afford all these goods made in China...what then?

by Anonymousreply 4111/26/2012

r41, It will be the best thing that ever happened to us. It means we will start buying locally and made in America.

by Anonymousreply 4211/27/2012

I work in software development in the US on an L1 work permit from Canada and i'm paid the same as my colleagues. The fact of the matter is that US has a shitty education system and doesn't produce enough skilled math/comp sci majors to fill the job openings.

by Anonymousreply 4311/27/2012

R43, Can you describe what your job is? Do you program in machine language or what is it exactly? I've had a lot of math and I've done high-level computer programming but, just the same, please explain your job as if talking to a 2-year-old (minus the "I've got your nose" part).

by Anonymousreply 4411/27/2012

bs r43

by Anonymousreply 4511/27/2012

The world is flooded with Chinese and Indian educated software programmers who work for 1/10th of what people used to get paid.

by Anonymousreply 4611/27/2012

R46 is correct. And since most IT jobs can now be done locally, why not just outsource to India?

It takes companies at least 7 years to realize what a mistake it is. If they last that long.

Ten bucks an hour is NOT a living wage. Maybe 20 years ago it was.

Are businesses so stupid to think they can still pay management 20X what they pay the people doing the work and actually have skilled workers? Are they really that out of touch with reality?

by Anonymousreply 4711/27/2012

And the top-level executives' salaries have exploded in the past 20 years. Many of them are making a king's ransom, plus bonuses.

by Anonymousreply 4811/27/2012

the answer, r47, is yes.

by Anonymousreply 4911/27/2012

[quote]Eventually nobody in the USA is going to be able to afford all these goods made in China...what then?

The middle class in China is over 5 times the size of the ENTIRE population in America. The middle class in India will be much larger than the entire population in the US as well, although maybe around 2030.

So businesses know that they do NOT need Americans to buy crap to keep the world turning. They don't really care if we become a banana republic and have the majority homeless and beholden to corporations.

I really wish the American middle class would stop assuming the world revolves around itself, because it hasn't for about a decade now. And never will again.

by Anonymousreply 5011/27/2012

[quote}And the top-level executives' salaries have exploded in the past 20 years.

The AFL-CIO calculated that S&P 500 CEOs earned an average of $12.9 million dollars in 2011.

That's 380 times more than the average worker.

Back in 1980, CEOs made 42 times what the average worker earned.

Per the Economic Policy Institute, CEO pay has risen more than 127 times faster than worker pay since 1978.

by Anonymousreply 5111/27/2012

China's middle class to change Australia's economy.

by Anonymousreply 5211/27/2012

China and India are fine now because they are working with technology developed by others, but soon, new ideas will be needed and they don't have the mindset or intellectual courage to come up with them.

by Anonymousreply 5311/27/2012

“China is now a huge market,” Scherer said. “The middle class continues to get larger and have more purchasing power, and companies have more of an opportunity to sell their goods and tap into the vast consumer base.”

“It’s a little bit like an Oklahoma land-rush mentality,” said Lee Peterson, executive vice president, creative services, of WD Partners, a Columbus-based consulting firm.

“People are salivating at the prospect of selling to so many consumers,” he said.

“Ninety-five percent of the world’s population is outside the United States,” Scherer said, “and if you’re not selling to these people, you’re missing a lot of potential customers.”

by Anonymousreply 5411/27/2012

[quote]China and India are fine now because they are working with technology developed by others, but soon, new ideas will be needed and they don't have the mindset or intellectual courage to come up with them.

Perhaps you aren't aware of what business is currently doing and has been doing for several generations now. The ideas come from here, the US, and then are manufactured over there and can now be sold over there. Nothing needs to change. China and India don't suddenly need to come up with ideas, they can get it from our super rich who will continue to piss on us in the process.

by Anonymousreply 5511/27/2012

Americans should realize their country is being sold out to other countries.

by Anonymousreply 5611/27/2012

[quote]China and India don't suddenly need to come up with ideas, they can get it from our super rich who will continue to piss on us in the process.

The 1% is not about ideas -- the 1% is all about manipulation. They excel only in self-preservation.

by Anonymousreply 5711/27/2012

R57, so you can't let go of the fact that the world needs Americans, huh. Okay, well we can't reason with everybody. Now go back to watching Fox News and continue to shout "We're number 1, we're number 1."

Apparently China and India are too dumb to fend for themselves.

Can't do it without Americans.

by Anonymousreply 5811/27/2012

I think r57 is saying that the 1% globally only care about themselves. Everyone else (American, Chinese, Indian, European) can just cease to exist as far as the 1% are concerned. They'll sell out anyone to keep their greedy hands on 99% of the wealth in the world.

by Anonymousreply 5911/27/2012

That's exactly the point I was getting at, in R50. The American middle class isn't needed for the world to continue to thrive and the 1% knows it.

by Anonymousreply 6011/27/2012

No, for the 1%'s PROFITS to continue to thrive. This system is actually killing the world - the environment, civilizations, destroying lives.

by Anonymousreply 6111/27/2012

Round up the 1 percent, seize their assets and execute them for treason.

Problem solved!

Sooner or later the masses will wake up and see this is the only real working solution.

by Anonymousreply 6211/27/2012

I agree, R62

“Nothing is more surprising than the easiness with which the many are governed by the few.” - David Hume

by Anonymousreply 6311/27/2012


by Anonymousreply 6411/28/2012

Trained Navy Dolphins Losing out to Robots More Sharing ServicesShare

SAN DIEGO December 2, 2012 (AP)

Some dolphins used by the Navy to track down mines will soon lose their jobs to robots — but they'll be reassigned, not retired.

Starting in 2017, 24 of the Navy's 80 military-trained dolphins will be replaced by a 12-foot unmanned torpedo-shaped vehicle, according to UT San Diego.

The military said the machines can do some of the same mine-hunting duties as the sea creatures. And they can be manufactured quickly, unlike the seven years it takes to train a dolphin.

But the dolphins won't be relieved of duty. They'll be used along with sea lions for port security and retrieving objects from the sea floor, the newspaper reported.

The Navy's $28 million marine-mammal program dates back to the late 1950s and once included killer whales and sharks. Based in San Diego, it currently uses 80 bottle-nosed dolphins and 40 California sea lions.

In recent years, dolphins have been deployed to Iraq and Bahrain to patrol for enemy divers and mark the locations of mines.

Using their innate sonar, the mammals find and mark mines in shallow water, in deep water when tethers are used, and on the bottom where sediment cover and plant growth can hide the devices.

Dolphins are carried aboard Navy ships in large movable pools, about 20 feet in diameter. Dolphins traveled on the amphibious ship Gunston Hall in 2003 for the Iraq war.

Most of the Navy's dolphins and sea lions are housed at Point Loma Naval Base, in pools sectioned off from the bay. Others guard Navy submarine bases in Georgia and Washington state, according to UT San Diego.

The military is responsible for the mammals' care throughout their lives, even after they're retired from active duty. Sometimes Navy dolphins are loaned to animal parks, such as Sea World, later in life.

by Anonymousreply 6512/02/2012
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