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September 2016
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September 2016
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The Skills Gap Myth?

Thursday, September 8, 2016

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. factories are attempting to hire again. Manufacturers posted 379,000 job openings this July, almost quadruple the number of openings since the recession came to a close. However, when it comes to filling those openings, the rebound has been more subtle. Hiring is up just 36 percent since the end of the recession, and tens of thousands of jobs are left unfilled. The Wall Street Journal suggested last week that companies simply can’t find enough skilled workers to fill these positions. Manufacturing jobs have become more technical, and the workforce hasn’t kept up. What’s left is an abundance of low-skilled workers and a lack of potential employees skilled enough to do the job. However, the data don’t really back up this theory. Only 11.5 percent of manufacturing workers have special licenses or certificates, and 80 percent have neither an associate nor a bachelor’s degree. Other evidence seems to show that the so-called manufacturing skills gap might not be as big of an issue as many seem to make it. Another theory is that there is a perceived skills gap, because in the age of online job postings and automatic resume screenings, many companies are posting more jobs than they actually intend to fill. 

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