It’s Not a Jobs Problem, It’s a Skills Problem

Did you know…

  • Openings for high-tech manufacturing jobs in 2016 averaged 353,000 a month?
  • Between June 2015 and June 2016, there was an average of two unemployed manufacturing workers for each open position
  • Companies like Boeing are seeking tool and die makers, and electricians — offering $35/hr to start, PLUS help with relocation costs.

Source: Wall Street Journal, 9/1/16

We have a training issue and relocations issue. Not a jobs problem, per se. The graphic below shows the high-tech manufacturing hubs back in 2000–12; you see a progression, a migration of jobs to the coasts, border/frontier locations, and large metropolitan areas in general (for a number of reasons, including access to markets, availability of workers, and infrastructure). That menas many of the workers in the center of the country may have to both retrain and relocate to take full advantage of the opportunity available to them. There has been a bit of a revival in midwestern manufacturing, but the truth is, the coasts, and high-tech centers will increasingly dominate the race for these high-paying, competitive jobs. Solve the skills problem, and to a lesser extent, the locational issues (which will be tougher because that’s a structural problem not easily overcome), and you solve a great deal of worker angst and economic instability.

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