Jobs Going Unfilled

Even though unemployment hovers just under 10%, there are manufacturing jobs in the US going unfilled. It isn't that no one is applying for those jobs. On the contrary, a lot of people have been applying for them. Unfortunately it appears that far too many of them aren't qualified to fill those empty positions.

According to the most recent statistics, there are 14.6 million Americans looking for work. Surely a handful of these people would be suitable for a manufacturing job? Turns out many of the unemployed are unqualified for the skilled jobs these companies need filled.

But this is exactly what we wanted, isn’t it? American manufacturing has moved, on many levels, beyond the low-skill manual labor of centuries past, and companies are increasing their usage of highly-technical practices like automation and CNC machining.

But all may not be as it seems at first glance. While younger workers may have the education, older workers have the experience that can outweigh education.

...in many cases, the 40-something who has been working in manufacturing job for the last 20 years (yet does not immediately qualify for a high-skill position) might actually make for a better candidate than a 23-year-old who just walked off the stage with their engineering diploma in hand. Think about the malleability of someone who has worked on the shop floor for years; they understand tools, safety, how to work hard, and so on.

But one must also look at the downside of some of these same workers. In certain industries they were crippled by being stuck in one particular job performing the same function over and over again, meaning that outside of that production line environment they've had little or no increase in knowledge or ability. What exactly am I talking about? Unions.

...the anti-competitive spirit of private- and public-sector unions conspires to dumb down its victims, making them into dependents — first of the union and then of the state, when the employer lets them go, or goes under. Even workers in non-union jobs and plants have felt the impact of career compartmentalization as unions have bullied employers to transform the logistics of the factory to suit their members’ alleged need for “security.”

In short, big union collectivism administers Novocaine to the brain, from the kindergarten classroom to the factory floor, thus slowing the economy.

So as the number of private-sector jobs that Americans can’t do swells, only one option remains for the people who have been doped and duped by collectivism: you can cash checks from the government — either for doing nothing at home, or for actively hampering economic growth by working for the government.

Speaking as a former member of a labor union (the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers), I can attest to the institutionalized sloth a union can bring upon manufacturers. I saw it on the floor every day. I heard it from the union stewards and fellow members of the rank-and-file. It was always “What are you trying to do, kill the job?” if you were working hard to be productive. In other words, you were some kind of a scumbag if you worked hard and gave anything above 50% effort during your shift. Under circumstances like that is it any wonder a lot of manufacturing jobs either headed to other states or other countries?

I think the only reason the company I worked for at the time survived was because it was a defense contractor. The economics were different. If the union had also made its way into the commercial side of the company (much of which was located in other states with right-to-work laws) it would have gone under because it wouldn't have been able to compete on price.

How many times have we seen companies close their doors forever or move their operations elsewhere because they couldn't meet union pay and benefit demands that would have left them less competitive, or worse, bankrupted them?