Made in America Again AWARE
Made in America AgainAWARE

Unemployment and Job/Skills Mismatch

Another indirect result of the lost manufacturing jobs is underemployment and a mismatch of many workers’ skills and jobs, causing a “productivity gap” of lost opportunity.

Job Insecurity

An important aspect of this productivity gap is job insecurity: in addition to causing personal and family distress, it causes workers to stay in jobs that under-utilize their skills.

In a survey conducted by Rutgers University in July-August 2014, [i] respondents were given twelve attributes and asked to choose all that applied to American workers.  The highest and lowest ranking attributes are instructive:

 

 

Attribute

Percent who included it as an attribute of American workers

Not secure in their jobs

70% (highest)

Highly stressed

68% (second highest)

Well paid

18% (second lowest)

Happy at work

14% (lowest)

 

[i] Cliff Zukin, Ph.D., Carl Van Horn, Ph.D., and Allison Kopicki.  “Unhappy, Worried, and Pessimistic: Americans in the Aftermath of the Great Recession.”  John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, Rutgers University. 

 

During the fifth year of the recovery, respondents actually reported a loss of confidence in the labor market from the prior year and a general lack of confidence in their ability to find a job:

 

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Underutilization

Job insecurity leads workers to accept, and to stay in, jobs that under-utilize their potential - that do not result in their “highest and best use,” to borrow a legal term. We have already seen one form of underemployment, the workers in Category 3, who want a full-time job but are stuck in a part-time job. Here we are concerned with the quality of the job. Here we consider the placement of workers in jobs below their skill level, workers who are employed below their potential, usually with a commensurate reduction in pay.

We find that underemployment in this sense is pervasive in all segments of the workforce, from millennials with four-year, and often advanced, degrees taking jobs as clerks, or as non-paid interns to get some experience on their resume to baby boomers with professional experience taking any job they can find because they have been shunted aside in a merger or a reduction in force. In some cases, the consequences for families are severe, involving a dramatic step down in living circumstances and severing of social ties.

There are other kinds of mismatches. There are whole companies full of individuals who would leave a tyrannical boss in a moment if they thought they could find another job. And we find workers making crazy commutes, often between cities, because there was no job in their market and they do not want to uproot their family.

At the individual level, we find a continuum, from the frustrated and disgruntled to destroyed, shattered lives shipwrecked on the shoals of the free trade, low-price low-wage, big squeeze economy.

At the national level, we find a tremendous loss of economic output, a "productivity gap" of lost years, from the millenial whose career fell off the rails at age 25, to the baby boomer who was discarded at age 55. 

 

GO TO Dependency and Social Ills.

News and Events

May 15, 2014, Ontario, CA - MIAA's founder, Jim Stuber, delivered the keynote address at the 20th annual World Trade Conference sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the California Inland Empire District Export Council in Ontario, California.  To view the conference agenda, click here:

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May 7, 2015, Radnor, PA.  MIAA's founder, Jim Stuber, appeared as the guest of host Richard J. Anthony, Sr. on The Entrepreneur's Network TV at Radnor Studio 21.  The program featured a discussion of the problems caused by offshoring manufacturing and white collar jobs and how consmers can solve the problem with their spending decisions. 

Studio 21 has made the program available for viewing here:

https://youtu.be/UIOwBD6-1pk

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