AEIdeas

The public policy blog of the American Enterprise Institute

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Discussion: (7 comments)

  1. Max Planck

    “Obama’s policies have weakened our economy, and the opportunities for graduating seniors are not getting better.”

    Yeah, there was SO much more opportunity out there when we were losing 700,000 jobs per month after you got done with it.

    Unreal…..

  2. Jon Murphy

    Obama’s policies sure do have a lot to do with the weakness of the recovery, but it is not the only reason college seniors are having trouble finding jobs.

    Probably one of the largest issues is the skills gap. Manufacturing and engineering has lots of job openings, but not enough applicants to fill them. Conversely, the US has an over-abundance of business majors, English majors, Sociologists, and the like. The demand just simply isn’t there for these skills.

    1. Max Planck

      “Probably one of the largest issues is the skills gap. Manufacturing and engineering has lots of job openings, but not enough applicants to fill them.”

      This is an oft repeated meme, and I never quite believed it. If manufacturers bemoan the lack of skills in candidates, they should train them themselves. It’s not exactly a new idea. Someone has to learn these trades somehow, and college may not be the place for it.

      But a recent article I saw gave what is probably the real reason for this “mismatch.” The companies just don’t want to pay what these skills are worth. They are trying to lowball their labor costs.

      1. “They are trying to lowball their labor costs.”

        Just like every company and employer in human history since the dawn of economic transactions. Yet it’s only (apparently) become a Serious Problem in the last ten years…. somehow.

        To the other point… I’m an architect, in a firm with both architects and engineers. I can train someone to perform the basic skills associated with my profession (drafting, scheduling, etc.). I cannot train them into work ethic, problem solving, critical thinking, or abstract conceptualizing, all of which are required to ever become more than a ‘CAD monkey’. Someone with the latter skillset is worth FAR more to me and my company than someone without, and no number of people without those skills will make up for the lack of someone with those skills.

        1. Max Planck

          “Just like every company and employer in human history since the dawn of economic transactions. Yet it’s only (apparently) become a Serious Problem in the last ten years…. somehow.”

          It’s become a problem since the recession began. You should see how newly minted law associates are outraged at the offers they’re getting, while they dreamed of getting an easy six figure entry fee when they decided to take up law as a professions. The “Big Law” firms are no longer gateways to riches for young grads.

          A surfeit of labor will bring wages down. And between the shedding of manufacturing jobs, the unchecked levels of illegal immigration, and the financial crisis, wages and opportunities are stagnating, skills or no skills.

        2. Max Planck

          To answer your second point: “I cannot train them into work ethic, problem solving, critical thinking, or abstract conceptualizing, all of which are required to ever become more than a ‘CAD monkey’.”

          This is a matter of talent, not training. I know plenty of “book smart” people in my business- they pass every test, hold several certifications- but you have to have a “touch” or some “soul” for the job, and the market, or they’re worthless. That comes from within.

          I’ve gotten into flame wars with Wharton grads over the housing issue- I have to walk them through the most basic understanding of credit metrics that they should already understand. I don’t know why, but some of these people are utterly clueless on these basic lending precepts.

  3. Vic Volpe

    Millennials will become the Lost Generation. We need a pro-growth agenda (3-1/2 to 4% growth in GDP). I worked all through the ’60′s — quite a different time that what young folks face today. You can check my blog, Economics Without The B.S. and look at the real GDP growth we had in the ’60′s with one Government deficit after another and debt/GDP being reduced throughout the decade. We could do a lot better for the younger ones. We have really let them down by pushing a status quo agenda.

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