Are Labor Jobs the Answer for U.S. Economy?

23Aug11

I know this post is going to be off-film, but it’s something that I’ve been discussing a lot recently. About two months ago, Mike Rowe (discovery.com) from Discovery’s “Dirty Jobs” was in the studio talking about the lack of skilled labor workers in the U.S.

After this segment aired, I talked about it with my dad. Being a former tradesman and union member, he had some insights that I wouldn’t have previously thought of. One of the things that Mike Rowe talked about was the fact that even though there is a large percentage of unemployment in the U.S., there is still a lack of workers to fill labor jobs. My dad highlighted this fact by saying that when the current crop of journeymen glaziers (metal and glass workers)  begin to retire the unions will more or less fold on themselves. There are little to no apprentice workers right now, and that’s left a gap in the labor field. To counteract this, the glaziers union is offering huge signing bonuses and starting salaries.

So, why is this happening? About twenty years ago, the U.S. had a major swing in its values and starting pushing people to go to college. The percentage of college educated workers sky-rocketed. At the same time however, the number of people willing to work in labor intensive jobs dropped. This swing has meant that there is an abundance of college educated workers for the “white-collar” areas; which has flooded the field making it harder to acquire and maintain jobs. It’s simple supply and demand. Too many candidates for too few jobs. So the ones without work claim unemployment. But on the flip side, the trades have too many jobs and not enough people to work them.

How is this a possible answer for the economic problem? It’s simple. If we, as a country, put less stress on college, and raise educational standards, then the number of people in college will fall; forcing those numbers to find employment in other places, mainly the labor field. Now, before you all go and try to crucify me, I am 100% for education. I believe everyone has a right to learn. But education standards in the U.S. have dropped so much in the past 20 years that low achieving students who otherwise would not have gotten into college, are now going to college. These people are what previously made up America’s labor force.

So, if you ask me, one big way to aid the U.S. (and likewise, global) economy is to raise educational standards. This will limit the amount of people vying for jobs that are already staffed; and will lower the total number of people on unemployment (which drains millions of dollars a day). It will also force low achieving students to seek employment in labor related jobs.

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One Response to “Are Labor Jobs the Answer for U.S. Economy?”

  1. 1 Cappysue

    Could not agree more with you. I would love to see a return to pride in having a good job that was labor which led to the creation of a quality item. College is great but so many go just because they think they should and have no real interest in the fields they go into let alone skill.


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