Economics discussion question – labor market for manufacturing

Preface:

In recent years the press and the manufacturing industry have been constantly writing about a supposed “skills-gap” in the American workforce. The premise propagated by the press and manufacturing executives is that there are hundreds of thousands of unfilled positions in the manufacturing sector because employers simply can’t find workers with the necessary math or technical skills to fill the positions. The press and the industry have blamed a wide variety of factors for the supposed shortages, such as blaming the public educational system for not preparing workers with the right technical skills, purporting that younger generations do not want to work in manufacturing because of a perceived stigma associated with manufacturing jobs, and they have also stated that younger generations do not want to work in manufacturing because it is perceived as highly volatile and susceptible to the ups and downs of the cyclical economy.

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You have read extensively now about supply and demand.  If there was a dire shortage of the supply of manufacturing workers coupled with a strong demand from the manufacturing industry–what do you think would happen to wages for workers in manufacturing jobs?  If you have been reading the textbook you would quickly assert that wages would be going up to equilibrate the market.  Well they haven’t been rising much more than inflation, in fact over the last year they only rose 2.1 percent, as evidenced by the following Bureau of Labor Statistics graph which shows the percentage change of hourly manufacturing wages from the prior 12 months:

manu-wages

Assignment:

Read the following article on the supposed skills-gap shortage:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/us-manufacturing-sees-shortage-of-skilled-factory-workers/2012/02/17/gIQAo0MLOR_story.html

Write about what you think is going on in the manufacturing labor market and the difference between what the press and industry is purporting versus what the wage data is conveying. Write a half a page with single spacing and size 12 font. 

Hint: Read chapter 12 Labor Markets and Labor Unions

 

Please read the assignment. Everything you need is above. I have also attached a doc in case you cannot read the post.

 

Thank you

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