A Crazy Marketplace!

Posted on: March 1st, 2016 by
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Here are some data points from the Labor Department, the marketplace and some things that don’t make sense to me. See if you can sort it out.

According to the Labor Department, there are currently over 6 million job openings, from a low of only 2.1 million just after July 2009. What’s going on? Why do we have so many people unemployed, underemployed or people looking for work? Possible answers: Workers may not be skilled in the areas where the higher paying jobs are located. Others are in jobs they don’t like, but are forced to remain while looking for work in their areas of interest and education.

We seem to be overproducing workers in areas that are not in demand and under producing workers in the fields of high demand: It’s the old supply-demand story. When you have PhD’s waiting on tables (with a degree in philosophy), and $100,000 jobs in technology going vacant or having to be filled with non-U.S. workers, something’s wrong. It’s estimated that 75% of Silicon Valley technology jobs are filled with foreign-born workers. Other vocations are looking for talented and qualified workers:

There are college students who are graduating with a degree that may have been very easy to achieve, but have little market value
There’s also a student loan problem. Students may have $75,000 in loans to pay off without marketable skills or a career that can pay their way.
Apprentice programs have been in a decline for the past 20 years. In 2003 there were 488,000 apprentices learning a trade. In 2013 there were only 287,000 apprentices.
A plumber, after a qualified apprentice program, can earn over $100,000 in a few years
Electricians have an even better opportunity for higher wages after a short period
According to the American Trucking Association, 50,000 truck drivers are needed with pay levels of $70,000 or more
If you take our national debt of over $19 trillion (too many 0’s for me), that translates to over $70,000 debt for every man, woman and child in the United States. I don’t have an extra $70,000 right now to help out. Do you?
The number of students going to college has increased to 20 million today from 15 million in 2000. We still can’t find enough U.S. citizens in engineering, technology, and the sciences.

My conclusion: We are educating our young people in the wrong areas, building their expectations beyond what is realistic, while we have to go to other countries to fill the higher paying jobs. And we don’t have a national plan to fix it. One reader said, “We have put a stigma on anyone who does not desire college. Instead of preaching free college we should devise a free technical program and a tax adjustment for 5 years if employed in their field of study”.
What do you think?

Send your thoughts, comments or ideas to: : wkaufmann44@gmail.com
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