mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
Economic Upturn?
A Rosier Outlook for Blue-Collar Jobs

Prospects are improving for some blue collar workers, reports the Economist. The construction industry, in particular, is on the hunt for new employees, and both mining and trucking are picking up steam as well:

Though still a shadow of its former size, construction is experiencing something it has not felt since the housing bubble peaked in 2006: labour shortages. Builders complain that they cannot find enough carpenters, labourers and estimators. It is too soon to call it a seller’s market, but wages are starting to respond.

[…] For the past two years hourly wages for all workers have grown at an annual rate of around 2%. But, excluding managers and supervisors, the growth of hourly wages for production workers has accelerated, to 2.3% in April from 1.5% in early 2012 […]. The gains are still too slight to pose an inflationary threat, especially since salaries in low-paid industries such as retail remain weak.

Of course, sometimes what looks like good news actually isn’t:

The unemployment rate for high-school graduates has actually fallen faster than for college graduates: by 4.4 versus 1.5 percentage points since 2010. However, it is still much higher, at 6.3% to 3.3%. And its fall owes less to red-hot demand than to falling supply, as many workers have left the labour force.

That’s worrisome, but perhaps at least some discouraged workers can be reintegrated into a job market that is beginning to look healthier. We wrote last week about new start-ups that set out to train low-skilled workers for in-demand jobs. One company vets candidates for trucking jobs and guarantees them positions upon their graduation from training. Its services may be in great demand, since trucking companies are so eager for workers that they offer signing bonuses of $1,000 and more, according to the Economist. More such “matchmakers” between workers and employers could help this fledgling blue-collar recovery take off.

In an economy where low-skilled workers have been losing ground rapidly, any turnaround, however slight, is something to cheer about.

Features Icon
show comments
  • Mark1971

    Expect illegal immigration to start increasing again.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    What BS, we are in Great Depression 2.0 with no end in sight. It’s just like the deflationary depression being experienced by Japan for the last 2.5 decades, and for the same reason, excessive debt. This shrinks the money supply, which according to the only Law of Economics “Supply and Demand”, forces the value of money up creating deflation, and making the excessive debt both more valuable and harder to pay off.

    The effects of deflation are:
    1. High Unemployment
    2. High Bankruptcy rate
    3. High Debt levels resulting in unwillingness to take on more debt
    4. Low interest rates
    5. High foreclosures
    6. Falling Wages
    7. Low inflation despite the Fed’s printing of Trillions of Dollars. What inflation there is, is created by Government bottlenecks like the alcohol in gasoline subsidy, which drives up gas and food prices and costs the taxpayer as well.
    8. Banks are willing to lend only to the most credit worthy, and they raise credit standards to insure they will be paid back.
    9. When Banks don’t lend our fractionated banking system (look it up you can’t understand capitalism without an understanding of it) doesn’t increase the money supply, as the monetary measure M3 money supply hasn’t grown in 5 years despite Trillions in Fed printing proves.

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service