BEDFORD, Ohio — Factory owners have been adding jobs slowly but steadily since the beginning of the year, giving a lift to the fragile economic recovery. And because they laid off so many workers — more than two million since the end of 2007 — manufacturers now have a vast pool of people to choose from.
Plenty of people are applying for the jobs. The problem, the companies say, is a mismatch between the kind of skilled workers needed and the ranks of the unemployed.
Here in this suburb of Cleveland, supervisors at Ben Venue Laboratories, a contract drug maker for pharmaceutical companies, have 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 going rate for entry-level manufacturing workers in the area, according to Cleveland State University, is $10 to $12 an hour, but more skilled workers earn $15 to $20 an hour.
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.
Factory Jobs Return, but Employers Find Skills Shortage
By MOTOKO RICH
Published: July 1, 2010
Here's Tyler Cowen:
Currently political debate is focused on the short-run employment issue, but a lot of the problem is probably long-run in nature.I'd love to see that test.
One simple hypothesis is that a lot of workers weren’t producing much value, but firms were willing to carry them in good times. When bad times came, firms cut them loose and also took greater trouble to identify them in the first place.
Stimulus alone won’t give those workers jobs because, as it stands now, their labor simply isn’t worth very much. The longer-term issue is how to improve the American educational system. This includes creating a culture where more parents value education, school choice is more available to bypass dysfunctional local systems, and teachers are more subject to incentives to encourage effectiveness.
President Obama does want to make progress on all those fronts, but it’s not a battle which can be won mainly at the federal level. We need to have a culture which simply does not tolerate bad local school districts. We’re a long way from that, so we need to focus on more than just the short-term alone.
June 24, 2010, 6:20 pm
Can Obama Create More Jobs Soon?
By THE EDITORS
I wonder if they're using Accuplacer?
The Race Between Education and Technology