Friday, March 04, 2011

The Job Mismatch Myth

The Obama administration has continued the fantasy of education as a solution to economic problems. Yet more evidence of this in a recent report refuting the idea that we need a whole slew of people trained in science and math and etc. Most of the actual jobs that are available are in the lowest paying and lowest skilled areas of the economy.

From the Real World Economics Review Blog:
About 3.5 million of the jobs lost in the downturn were in high-wage industries, but fewer than 200,000 of the jobs created in the last year were in those same industries. Over half of the jobs created since the economy bottomed out were in the lowest-paying industries. . . .

“[T]he job opportunities currently available to workers have deteriorated compared to what was available before the recession.” The NELP data flatly contradict the idea that the economy is currently facing a structural “mismatch” where workers don’t have the skills that employers are demanding. The recession-related job losses were concentrated in high-wage industries and the new jobs have been in low-wage industries, leaving millions of workers from middle- and high-wage industries high and dry.
See also an earlier post about why education does not create jobs.

5 comments:

philip said...

Tks Aaron...i've been harping on this for a few years...Anyone interested in where the jobs are should take a peek at the BLS job projections...the most fascinating part of the table is amount of education required...http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_table_104.htm

Susan said...

Obama is simply lying, like all of the neoliberals who are embracing destructive education "reform." This is a concerted attempt to undermine public education in this country as a matter of a political philosophy; this is a worldwide trend, by the way. The reason is because there aren't enough high-paying jobs to go around, and these "reformers" actually want to limit opportunities for higher education for the vast majority of people. What I mean by "higher education" is ANY education beyond middle school. And because there is little need for an educated workforce, there is little need for professional teachers as it is seen as a waste of money by reformers. The vast majority of teachers can have an eighth-grade education and read from scripts, just as it is done in many third world countries.

Lois Weiner, an education professor, talks about this at length in her various writings and speeches. This assault against public education is global, and entities like the World Bank are pushing it as part of its neoliberal agenda.

Art said...

I see no evidence that the administration believes that education is the single and sole solution to economic problems or that education by itself creates jobs. Still, I think economists pretty much agree that the quality of a society's educational system contributes substantially to its level of prosperity.

The administration claims that "Since the beginning of the 20th century, average per capita
income in the United States has grown more than sevenfold, and science and technology account for more than half of this growth...". If this is true it certainly makes good sense both economically and socially for a society to invest in educating its citizens in science in technology. Americans like to eat out, drive their cars, and shop for bargains, so of course there are and will continue to be lots of jobs in retail and service industries.

philip said...

@art...go back and read the president's state of the union address...read the portion on education specifically...you'll find plenty of assertions that education is THE key to economic "success." As for the rest of your comment...i have no idea what you are talking about.

Art said...

President Obama did devote a substantial portion of SOU to education, but it is very clear from the rest of the speech that he wants to reinvigorate America by investing in innovation, education, and infrastructure, together with regulatory reform and debt reduction. President Obama obviously values education highly, as highly or even more highly than his predecessors, but only a hopelessly schematized reading of what says could conclude that he believes that we can educate our way to prosperity while standing still in other areas.