Wednesday, July 07, 2010

A Problem of Supply & Demand

You might think that a company looking to hire 100 entry level factory workers in a rust belt city with an unemployment rate of 9.1% would have no problem filing those slots. Not so according to this story by Motoko Rich in The New York Times, Ben Venue Laboratories “reviewed 3,600 job applications this year and found only 47 people to hire at $13 to $15 an hour, or about $31,000 a year.”

The skills hurdle isn’t all that high either.

“All candidates at Ben Venue must pass a basic skills test showing they can read and understand math at a ninth-grade level. A significant portion of recent applicants failed, and the company has been disappointed by the quality of graduates from local training programs. It is now struggling to fill 100 positions.”

That’s not even a high school education!

It appears that a good deal of manufacturing in this country is going be leaner and smarter in the post recession economy.

“Manufacturers who profess to being shorthanded say they have retooled the way they make products, calling for higher-skilled employees. “It’s not just what is being made,” said David Autor, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “but to the degree that you make it at all, you make it differently.”
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