Throughout the campaign, President Obama lamented the so-called skills gap and referenced a study claiming that nearly 80 percent of manufacturers have jobs they can’t fill. Mitt Romney made similar claims.
At GenMet, the starting pay is $10 an hour. Those with an associate degree can make $15, which can rise to $18 an hour after several years of good performance. From what I understand, a new shift manager at a nearby McDonald’s can earn around $14 an hour.

The secret behind this skills gap is that it’s not a skills gap at all. I spoke to several other factory managers who also confessed that they had a hard time recruiting in-demand workers for $10-an-hour jobs. “It’s hard not to break out laughing,” says Mark Price, a labor economist at the Keystone Research Center, referring to manufacturers complaining about the shortage of skilled workers. “If there’s a skill shortage, there has to be rises in wages,” he says. “It’s basic economics.” After all, according to supply and demand, a shortage of workers with valuable skills should push wages up. Yet according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of skilled jobs has fallen and so have their wages.
Manufacturers, who face increasing competition from low-wage countries, feel they can’t afford to pay higher wages. Potential workers choose more promising career paths.

When an unskilled job pays more than a skilled job that required time and money to get skilled, we are just shooting ourselves in the employment foot. I WILL have fries with that.

  1. Uncle Patso says:

    The signal-to-noise ratio in these comments is so low it’s hard to measure.

    Are all the skilled commenters busy writing How-To articles for websites that pay $1 per page?

    C’mon, people, engage the brains and step up!

    • hmeyers says:

      This might be one of the most crisp comments I’ve read here in a while. [Tips hat towards]

  2. JimD says:

    Yeah, RobMe and the Repukes HATE LABOR and think American Workers should be paid NO MORE THAN CHINESE SLAVE LABORERS !!! The Repukes have been ATTACKING LABOR SINCE THERE HAS BEEN A LABOR MOVEMENT – BACK TO THE LATE 1800′S !!! Any Worker who votes for a Repuke is just giving them a KNIFE TO STAB YOU IN THE BACK WITH !!!

    • pedro says:

      When are you gonna vote them out? Specially from the senate.

    • stormtrooper 651 says:

      Our “CHINESE SLAVE” brothers are loyal to the socialist one party system, when the US achieves it socialist one party objective your offensive outburst will be remembered and you will be “rewarded”. Racist and greedy scum like you will be weeded out.

    • MikeN says:

      The labor movement was effective at lowering black employment levels.

      • deowll says:

        Well something has sure gone bad since then. They lead the nation in not having a job.

    • hmeyers says:

      What kind of comments is this really?

      In a global market, the USA isn’t an island.

      Your wrath should not be based on domestic class warfare arguments — they have no basis in reality because this is not a sealed and firewalled economy like the 1930s.

      If you going to make that argument, you better be upset at trade agreements like NAFTA that make Mexican labor costs relevant to USA wages and production costs.

  3. sargasso_c says:

    A skills shortage as defined by an employer is a cynical, euphemistic plea for cheaper skilled labor. It usually comes just before a government review of immigration policy.

  4. Bob73 says:

    The problem becomes pretty obvious if one charts both wages and cost-of-living over the past thirty years.

  5. Glenn E. says:

    As Dvorak once pointed out, many of these “unfilled” jobs claims are bogus. That there’s a benefit to corporations for filling such false job numbers, that they have no intent of filling by offering a decent skilled wage.

    I ran into something similar, working at a large industrial plant. They announced layoffs, unless junior employees went out and got two year degrees. But were not going to adjust work schedules to allow for consistent college hours. Nor did they even wait two years before laying us off. So it was all totally bogus labor contract promises. And then they maintained a handful of crappy janitor jobs. For the purpose of claiming they offered work. But when refused, had the excuse for denying pensions. Which they did with me, even though they never even offer the crappy “unskilled” job.

    I’d probably be injured by poor safety practices, if they had. I don’t imagine many work as janitors, for too long. I valued my health, more than being a stubborn employee, who wouldn’t quit. So I’m glad I missed out on that. But once again, and big corporation broke its own contracted rules. To save itself paying some pensions. And the precious Labor Union, I paid into, did nothing to protect my interests. They likely signed off on it, to save their most senior members’ paychecks and pensions. Something all labor union should confess is their only interest. And stop pretending to the rest of the rank and file, that it’s not.

    In case you were wondering, that plant I worked at made steel. Something we import more and more from China, now. But slave labor beats the more expensive American and European steel, every time. So even state governments opt for the cheaper China product. And labor unions say nothing about it.

  6. MikeN says:

    Well, they can get their hours cut to 30 a week, so that the factory can avoid paying Obamacare penalties. Already, we are seeing a Pennsylvania Community College do just that. They have cut adjunct professors to 25 hours a week, so they don’t have to provide health care. Plus, the people whose hours are cut to 25 a week are now mandated to buy health insurance which itself gets more expensive because of all the mandated coverages.

  7. John Nash Rambler says:

    a. The Democrats are to blame. They’re commies.

    b. The Republicans are to blame. They’re Nazis.

    c. Oh, this is Dvorak Uncensored. The answer MUST be a or b.

    d. z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z

  8. MikeN says:

    So, will people realize that this applies to low-skill jobs as well? Or are they going to keep insisting that immigrants do jobs Americans won’t do?

    Perhaps the manufaturers are keeping wages low because they see that people like Paul Krugman are insisting on amnesty and open borders that will bring in millions of workers to keep wages low.

  9. Proud Alien says:

    Well, dear skilled Yankees, at least in my area of expertise (ERP consulting), there is indeed a shortage of skilled workers, US citizens or foreign. It’s been like this for a while, long enough that some smart college grads manage get up to speed on an application in demand and start making low 6 figures soon after graduation. None of my foreign friends and acquaintances is unemployed or underpaid. And yes, I do have a few US natives with soft skills (marketing, geography majors, etc.) who have been without work for extended period of times.

    • ERP_GUY says:

      Along with my ITIL and SOA certifications and 25 + years experience with transaction processing systems, large enterprise integration and consulting. I get calls from recruiters; mostly, shall we say, “out of towners”, looking for an ERP guru with a laundry list of skills and don’t want to pay dick for them. I have been offered travel assignments for as low as 35 per hour 1099 with no per diem. Which I promptly turn down. Sorry dude, not all of us can survive on a third world income. There is not a shortage of skilled people in this and other fields. There is a shortage of cheap people with these skills. It’s kind of like someone wanting to buy a 2012 Porche Boxter for a hundred bucks then complains that there is a shortage when he can’t find one.
      When you say “6 figures” are you including numbers to the right of the decimal point?