Employers Aren't Just Whining: The "Skills Gap" Is Real

Tyler Durden's picture

By way of Mauldin Economics

Employers Aren’t Just Whining – the “Skills Gap” Is Real

Every year, the Manpower Group, a human resources consultancy, conducts a worldwide “Talent Shortage Survey.” Last year, 35% of 38,000 employers reported difficulty filling jobs due to lack of available talent; in the U.S., 39% of employers did. But the idea of a “skills gap” as identified in this and other surveys has been widely criticized. Peter Cappelli asks whether these studies are just a sign of “employer whining;” Paul Krugman calls the skills gap a “zombie idea” that “that should have been killed by evidence, but refuses to die.” The New York Times asserts that it is “mostly a corporate fiction, based in part on self-interest and a misreading of government data.” According to the Times, the survey responses are an effort by executives to get “the government to take on more of the costs of training workers.”

Really? A worldwide scheme by thousands of business managers to manipulate public opinion seems far-fetched. Perhaps the simpler explanation is the better one: many employers might actually have difficulty hiring skilled workers. The critics cite economic evidence to argue that there are no major shortages of skilled workers. But a closer look shows that their evidence is mostly irrelevant. The issue is confusing because the skills required to work with new technologies are hard to measure. They are even harder to manage. Understanding this controversy sheds some light on what employers and government need to do to deal with a very real problem.

This issue has become controversial because people mean different things by “skills gap.” Some public officials have sought to blame persistent unemployment on skill shortages. I am not suggesting any major link between the supply of skilled workers and today’s unemployment; there is little evidence to support such an interpretation. Indeed, employers reported difficulty hiring skilled workers before the recession. This illustrates one source of confusion in the debate over the existence of a skills gap: distinguishing between the short and long term. Today’s unemployment is largely a cyclical matter, caused by the recession and best addressed by macroeconomic policy. Yet although skills are not a major contributor to today’s unemployment, the longer-term issue of worker skills is important both for managers and for policy.

Nor is the skills gap primarily a problem of schooling. Peter Cappelli reviews the evidence to conclude that there are not major shortages of workers with basic reading and math skills or of workers with engineering and technical training; if anything, too many workers may be overeducated. Nevertheless, employers still have real difficulties hiring workers with the skills to deal with new technologies.

Why are skills sometimes hard to measure and to manage? Because new technologies frequently require specific new skills that schools don’t teach and that labor markets don’t supply. Since information technologies have radically changed much work over the last couple of decades, employers have had persistent difficulty finding workers who can make the most of these new technologies.

Consider, for example, graphic designers. Until recently, almost all graphic designers designed for print. Then came the Internet and demand grew for web designers. Then came smartphones and demand grew for mobile designers. Designers had to keep up with new technologies and new standards that are still changing rapidly. A few years ago they needed to know Flash; now they need to know HTML5 instead. New specialties emerged such as user-interaction specialists and information architects. At the same time, business models in publishing have changed rapidly.

Graphic arts schools have had difficulty keeping up. Much of what they teach becomes obsolete quickly and most are still oriented to print design in any case. Instead, designers have to learn on the job, so experience matters. But employers can’t easily evaluate prospective new hires just based on years of experience. Not every designer can learn well on the job and often what they learn might be specific to their particular employer.

The labor market for web and mobile designers faces a kind of Catch-22: without certified standard skills, learning on the job matters but employers have a hard time knowing whom to hire and whose experience is valuable; and employees have limited incentives to put time and effort into learning on the job if they are uncertain about the future prospects of the particular version of technology their employer uses. Workers will more likely invest when standardized skills promise them a secure career path with reliably good wages in the future.

Under these conditions, employers do, have a hard time finding workers with the latest design skills. When new technologies come into play, simple textbook notions about skills can be misleading for both managers and economists.

For one thing, education does not measure technical skills. A graphic designer with a bachelor’s degree does not necessarily have the skills to work on a web development team. Some economists argue that there is no shortage of employees with the basic skills in reading, writing and math to meet the requirements of today’s jobs. But those aren’t the skills in short supply.

Other critics look at wages for evidence. Times editors tell us “If a business really needed workers, it would pay up.” Gary Burtless at the Brookings Institution puts it more bluntly: “Unless managers have forgotten everything they learned in Econ 101, they should recognize that one way to fill a vacancy is to offer qualified job seekers a compelling reason to take the job” by offering better pay or benefits. Since Burtless finds that the median wage is not increasing, he concludes that there is no shortage of skilled workers.

But that’s not quite right. The wages of the median worker tell us only that the skills of the median worker aren’t in short supply; other workers could still have skills in high demand. Technology doesn’t make all workers’ skills more valuable; some skills become valuable, but others go obsolete. Wages should only go up for those particular groups of workers who have highly demanded skills. Some economists observe wages in major occupational groups or by state or metropolitan area to conclude that there are no major skill shortages. But these broad categories don’t correspond to worker skills either, so this evidence is also not compelling.

To the contrary, there is evidence that select groups of workers have been had sustained wage growth, implying persistent skill shortages. Some specific occupations such as nursing do show sustained wage growth and employment growth over a couple decades. And there is more general evidence of rising pay for skills within many occupations. Because many new skills are learned on the job, not all workers within an occupation acquire them. For example, the average designer, who typically does print design, does not have good web and mobile platform skills. Not surprisingly, the wages of the average designer have not gone up. However, those designers who have acquired the critical skills, often by teaching themselves on the job, command six figure salaries or $90 to $100 per hour rates as freelancers. The wages of the top 10% of designers have risen strongly; the wages of the average designer have not. There is a shortage of skilled designers but it can only be seen in the wages of those designers who have managed to master new technologies.

This trend is more general. We see it in the high pay that software developers in Silicon Valley receive for their specialized skills. And we see it throughout the workforce. Research shows that since the 1980s, the wages of the top 10% of workers has risen sharply relative to the median wage earner after controlling for observable characteristics such as education and experience. Some workers have indeed benefited from skills that are apparently in short supply; it’s just that these skills are not captured by the crude statistical categories that economists have at hand.

And these skills appear to be related to new technology, in particular, to information technologies. The chart shows how the wages of the 90th percentile increased relative to the wages of the 50th percentile in different groups of occupations. The occupational groups are organized in order of declining computer use and the changes are measured from 1982 to 2012. Occupations affected by office computing and the Internet (69% of these workers use computers) and healthcare (55% of these workers use computers) show the greatest relative wage growth for the 90th percentile. Millions of workers within these occupations appear to have valuable specialized skills that are in short supply and have seen their wages grow dramatically.


This evidence shows that we should not be too quick to discard employer claims about hiring skilled talent. Most managers don’t need remedial Econ 101; the overly simple models of Econ 101 just don’t tell us much about real world skills and technology. The evidence highlights instead just how difficult it is to measure worker skills, especially those relating to new technology.

What is hard to measure is often hard to manage. Employers using new technologies need to base hiring decisions not just on education, but also on the non-cognitive skills that allow some people to excel at learning on the job; they need to design pay structures to retain workers who do learn, yet not to encumber employee mobility and knowledge sharing, which are often key to informal learning; and they need to design business models that enable workers to learn effectively on the job (see this example). Policy makers also need to think differently about skills, encouraging, for example, industry certification programs for new skills and partnerships between community colleges and local employers.

Although it is difficult for workers and employers to develop these new skills, this difficulty creates opportunity. Those workers who acquire the latest skills earn good pay; those employers who hire the right workers and train them well can realize the competitive advantages that come with new technologies.

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X-defiler's picture

Its funny Krugman declares its fiction when he is the poster child for the skill GAP!! Matter of fact, the whole financial and political landscape is filled with this GAP. The skill-less are left in charge of deciding what is a skill GAP? Just FACKING AMAZING. 

By the way FACKING is australian for Beeya.

Stuck on Zero's picture

You are so correct.  Did Henry Ford whine about not finding workers with automotive building skills?  No.  He hired boys right off the farm and trained them to do their jobs.  He also paid enough that he coul select the best and brightest.


LetThemEatRand's picture

He also paid enough so they could afford the product they were producing (without going into debt).   Made a couple of bucks with that formula, yet that simple formula is completely lost on today's "productive class."

JuliaS's picture

Oil was cheap = everything was cheap. Food, housing, textiles, cars.

Also there was no retiring babyboomer generation weighing disproportionally on the social services provided. No glut of union jobs (and we all know what Ford thoughts of labor unions).

Those days are not coming back because of multitude of factors - not because good'ole uncle's no longer around.

Car industry was also a growth industry not yet saturated.

So many headwinds right now. Life will never be like that again.

SafelyGraze's picture

paw-paw pointed out that there are mexicans in town who are buying up the little 1950s and 1960s one-story houses. then taking out the roof, building a second floor, and putting a roof back over it.

I suppose if you have certain skills, you might apply them to your own property, family, wealth creation. rather than looking for a higher paying job and using your taxed income to pay someone else to build/repair/improve things for you.

sounds pretty crazy to me though

JuliaS's picture

In my neighbourhood they did something even more amazing. Bought a 1 storey house, peeled it from the foundation and raised it with car jacks just barely enough to put a single layer of bricks. Then they did exactly that - put a row of bricks, waited for the cement to dry and shifted the jacks. And like that, one layer at a time made the former 1st floor a 2nd floor. No need to remove the roof even.

In no time they had an extra space to fill and because the structure was done that way, they could afford to build the base slightly wider than the top. With the method you describe, you're limited by the load capacity of existing walls. Also, you can't live the house while building it.

My neighbouring crew was living in the top section all though the construction period. Somehow they figured how to keep the pipes connected and everything.

flyingcaveman's picture

That's harder to do if the house is built slab on grade.  Hard to live in a jacked up house with no floor.

JuliaS's picture

Definitely, the construction has to permit the modification. Their house was originally a wooden frame over concrete foundation with floor being directly tied to the beams.

I'd not risk adding an extra floor to the top of a wood frame, unless it's a small patio.

Cheduba's picture

"Oil was cheap = everything was cheap."

I'd prefer to say that the dollar was much less devalued back then rather than oil was cheap. All businesses in existence (especially the small ones) are suffering right now with high input costs from a hyperinflated currency and not being able to pass those increased costs on to all of us broke consumers.

The price to extract oil is increased by the cost of all the inputs such as heavy equipment, labor, and supply chain from our inflated fiat currency, not to mention the hyper-regulatory environment that grants monopolies to a select few insiders, HFT algos front-running trades every millisecond, and the TBTF banks directly owning production companies so they can warehouse oil and restrict supply through refineries to jack up prices further, even with falling demand.

All this is a long way of saying that things are royally f*cked up, but the primary barrier to our economy is that there are cartels with monopolies in every sector of life that prevent true price discovery.

AGuy's picture

"He also paid enough so they could afford the product they were producing (without going into debt). "

Ford practical had a monopoly of auto manufacturing at the time. The Model-T was the iPod of the era and everyone was willing to pay a premium to have one, which afforded Higher salaries (Yes I am aware Apple Outsources Manufacturing to China with Slave wages). Manufacturing today is much more competitive than it was back 100 years ago. Its a sad fact that if a US manufacturer offered the same wages as Ford did back in the day, that they the prices of there products would be so high that few would be able to afford them.

Back then, Henry Ford didn't have to offer healthcare, accident compensation. There was no Osha or other gov't regulations to project workers from dangers. Also see this article as Henry Ford Motovation for raising wages was for less than generous reasons:




"At the time, workers could count on about $2.25 per day, for which they worked nine-hour shifts. It was pretty good money in those days, but the toll was too much for many to bear. Ford’s turnover rate was very high. In 1913, Ford hired more than 52,000 men to keep a workforce of only 14,000. New workers required a costly break-in period, making matters worse for the company. Also, some men simply walked away from the line to quit and look for a job elsewhere. Then the line stopped and production of cars halted. The increased cost and delayed production kept Ford from selling his cars at the low price he wanted. Drastic measures were necessary if he was to keep up this production."

TeethVillage88s's picture

Under Capitalism we are all pitted against each other.

Like or Similar to Greg Morse's Idea that Municipal Bonds & Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) are put into Exchange Markets to become part of A-Cementric Warfare. Public Corporations with public stock are subject to Machiavellian warfare.

Sure Small Businesses have to keep their system secret, recipes have to be secret, manufacturing techniques are valuable to the competition... there is plenty of room for proprietary secrets.

Under Capitalism... we keep skills to ourselves so we don't train our replacements who will earn far less compensation.

Under Capitalism... we put people down, spread rumors that they are incompetent, boast that we have the best experience and knowledge... and even try to keep other employees from going to training or college classes.

No problems with Capitalism? Yes, there are problems. Knowledge is power, money, higher compensation, and the basis for lower salaries and compensation.

Barriers? US Education & Technical School Tuition costs... plus all the time you need, debt you incur, and lack of savings you have to pay for training (feel me Federal Reserve when we get ZIRP or LIRP?)

Caravan To Midnight - Episode 110 Capital Kinetics with Greg Morse

Bring Out Your Dead.
Bring Out Your Dead.


Tortfeasor's picture

Some people will look for any excuse not to work hard.

California Nightmares's picture

Problem as I see it: most "educated" (credentialed) people are accustomed to being taught or trained. Those why don't gain special skills either aren't extremely smart or they just don't know how to learn difficult things on their own.

Our formal education system is not set up to endow students with the skills they need to educate themselves. (If it were, many teachers would be unemployed.)

I'm reminded of a quotation that (if I recall correctly) appears in a book by Lewis Lapham.

Elite school prof to student: "I don't care what you think. I care only that you know what I think."

Rican's picture

It's all about insatiable lust for growth that has squeezed the talent pool dry. Cronyism and greed creating the Peter Principle compounded by the need for everyone "in the working class" to wear as many hats as possible so the corporation only needs to pay your increasingly expensive overhead once (savings go to CEO bonuses). Work 60 hours / week or get replaced by an Indian willing to work for half pay on his Visa before he goes back home and starts his own firm that will directly compete with yours for pennies on the dollar. Made even worse by the education bubble (lust for growth) that has made a Master's Degree the new Bachelor's Degree and a Bachelor's degree the new GED. So you have thousands of kids with mountains of debt flooding the market with liberal arts degrees. Start your career as a debt slave in the face of all I've mentioned above and good luck. Or, you know, work for the government.

To actually see the reality, "intellectuals" like Krugman would have to admit that the fundamental policies they've espoused since the early 1900s has led us to the precipice in 2014. The banks have been sucking the middle class dry for decades, piling up mountains of debt, and now have fewer backs left to stand upon. More people are on goverment assistance than are in the workforce. The foundation is crumbling. The rest of the headlines echo or distract from this.

My advice: network and be able to sell yourself. Actually have skills, not "skills". Be able to PRODUCE SOMETHING. Create value. Be a fair person. Be pragmatic.

Dick Buttkiss's picture

+100, and I kiss your ass (metaphorically) for nailing it.

Handful of Dust's picture

So, reading between all those lines, Rican, you mean I'll have to actually work?

LetThemEatRand's picture

Not if you're a banker or one of their politicians.  

TeethVillage88s's picture

Since I got a few Trolls last night here is the link for total US Debt of $59 Trillion:

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/TCMDO $59.398 Trillion. All Sectors; Credit Market Instruments; Liability, Level

lester1's picture

What about the 18,000 "skilled" people Microsoft just layed off ????


Still cant find talent in America???

California Nightmares's picture

The trend here seems to be toward a highly automated economy that handsomely pays a few thousand ultra smart guys. Millions of persons less bright can work at Starbucks, Whole Foods,  etc.  

Remaining tens of millions will be essentially superfluous. 

I consider that the local McDonald's now hires highly polished, highly motivated, and embarrasingly polite workers. No ruffians need apply. 

Drummond's picture

Human Resources. What sort of fucked up department is that? I'm not even going beyond the first line of this one.

r00t61's picture

I had some co-workers who were around when it was still called Personnel.

Today, you're just a "Human Resource," a biological battery that the corporation can use up until it gets chucked in the trash and replaced by another battery.

TeethVillage88s's picture

Resources produce profits, Companies extract value from Resources.

Wealthy or Elites or Royalty must extract either wealth from middle class or extract wealth from resources.

Capitalism follows this model, but I think also the Catholic Church used this model and even secured lands to build wealth in the Americas and Canada.

USA grew greatly as it took new lands and had businesses & settlers claim land... mining, agriculture, oil, mineral rights, good sea ports, Panama Canal, ... Rail Roads & Highways, Sea Lanes that are protected, Pipelines, ....

Joebloinvestor's picture

We shot ourselves in the head when high schools dropped shop classes.


Crawdaddy's picture

If a man has never used a cutting torch. he has missed out. Bucket list item for anyone under 25.

actionjacksonbrownie's picture

Well after you are done cleaning up those jagged/warped edges you just created with your cutting torch, try using a plasma cutter - it's da shizzles :-)

Dave Thomas's picture

We never got to a cutting torch but we were the last ones to use a spot welder, and boy did we squish all sorts of things living and dead between 'them trodes lol.

flyingcaveman's picture

Shop class has sucked since the 80's in California anyway.  Hours of safety lectures to use a hand held screwdriver and use a worn out piece of sandpaper. 

Luckily, I did most of my highschool in Canada where you could actually build things in shop class.  I build an end table in woodshop, but some guys did really big projects like a whole china cabinet and one guy even built himself a kayak.  Most people just made dildos on the lathe though.  Metal shop almost everybody did the same projects usually a fireplace poker or log tongs with the forge.  maybe some decorative shit or a dust pan out of sheet metal and usually a mini-canon for a lathe project.  gas and arc welding was usually just welding a little cube together.  Oh, there was sand casting too, I have a giant aluminum penny somewhere.

lester1's picture

At my high school it was around 2002 when IT and shop classes disappeared. No child left behind gives additional funding if the high schools send kids to college and NOT trade school or military. So they expect gear heads to get a liberal arts degree.


You can thank the failed George W Bush presidency for that !!

Carpenter1's picture

The only skills that will matter soon are survival skills, and by that I mean shooting, wilderness,  hand to hand combat, growing food(discreetly), and of course, knowing how to protect your stack.



The_Dude's picture

skills gap = not the right training and experience willing to work for the slave wage price...... so they'll whine to their paid off congressional lackeys to bring in more H1B slaves

Corps used to train employees or pay them to go to school....all that ended in the 90's with the advent of the H1B program

WTF_247's picture


They want 20 years of experience with PHD willing to work for 50k per year 6 days a week for 12 hours a day with no benefits as an "at will" employee.

James_Cole's picture

It's a worldwide phenomenon, you have to be willing to work around the clock at a lot of jobs to get decent $$ (from what I've seen). Even so, with people willing to do that there's still a giant skills gap. Part of it I think is things are just moving fast, it's tough to keep up with tech (as the author points out with some examples). We're all fighting the machines now ultimately. For a job in the 6 figures you gotta stay current to justify your earnings, fall behind a bit and you'll be out!

TeethVillage88s's picture

I totally disagree with the premise of this article.

You can do searches for Economics STEM Glut and you see how we have millions of educated people from programers, biology majors to PhDs. Economists not this.

But apparently the Author of the Article doesn't know this. THIS is a clear indication that the author is not an Economist.

I'm down the middle in my politics. I see the advantage of basing business & government on Conservative Values. Every Democrat & Republican should publicly declare they believe in standardized Financial Instruments and GAAP Accounting and Ratings Agencies that are not paid by the people that produce the Financial Instruments.

This is the reason we had 2008 Financial Crisis. Bankers were breaking deeds of trust and rehypothicating assets of home buyers... but when it all comes out they want to make derivatives out of every asset.

Hey where do our people that worked in skilled manufacturing or software development go after being outsourced? No where. They are skilled people in the USA who can fill jobs... and at this point maybe "Downward Sticky Wages" are not as big a deal as in 2001.

PhDs... where do they get jobs? No one has an answer.

James_Cole's picture

You can do searches for Economics STEM Glut and you see how we have millions of educated people from programers, biology majors to PhDs. Economists not this.

Educated from where? Yeah, a lot of BS phds, but the good ones...nah. Those people are hired no problem. And you don't need a phd either. 

If there's this big glut as people like to claim, why are the unemployment rates low?

Hey where do our people that worked in skilled manufacturing or software development go after being outsourced? No where. They are skilled people in the USA who can fill jobs... and at this point maybe "Downward Sticky Wages" are not as big a deal as in 2001.

Avg wage for tech workers in SF is 150k (in san mateo it is 291k), so it's not purely a 'trying to only land the cheapies.' If you talk to recruiters at the big firms they will tell you they have a tough time finding qualified people. 

TeethVillage88s's picture

Bahahaha... where do you get unemployment data? Even the FED provides the data you need if you look for it total unemployed for instance and John Williams is recognized as the best on this, but the Wall Street Examiner also refutes the propaganda from Washington, Lee Adler.

- Civilian Labor Force
2014-07: 156,023 Thousands of Persons (+ see more)
Monthly, Seasonally Adjusted, CLF16OV, Updated: 2014-08-01

- Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate
2014-07: 62.9 Percent (+ see more)
Monthly, Seasonally Adjusted, CIVPART, Updated: 2014-08-01

other stuff:

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/ROWFDN... ($3.16 Foreign Investment USA)
http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/GPDI ($2.69 Private Domestic Investment)
http://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/international/intinv/iip_glance.htm ($26 Trillion foreign compared to $22 for US) (This is very interesting as Big Banks are growing strongly, but the number of total us banks is dramatically decreasing, like someone is gaming the system, Commercial Banks in the U.S. - FRED - St. Louis Fed)

Corporate Taxes end of 2013 = 273.5 Billion (Treasury data end of Fiscal year Sept 2013)
Corporate Profit end of 2013 = $1.9045 Trillion

$273.5/1,904,5 = 14.4% Corporate Tax


Speaking of Taxes interesting looking at recovery from the Recession between Individual Tax Revue & Corporate Tax Revenue. I may not be as well read as others. Maybe someone can explain how Individual Taxes took a Dive, then recovered but Corporate Taxes Did not???

Corporate Income Taxes Receipts 1998 = $ 188.7 Billion
Corporate Income Taxes Receipts 2002 = $ 148.0 Billion (Recession)
Corporate Income Taxes Receipts 2006 = $ 353.9 Billion
Corporate Income Taxes Receipts 2007 = $ 370.2 Billion
Corporate Income Taxes Receipts 2008 = $ 304.3 Billion
Corporate Income Taxes Receipts 2009 = $ 138.2 Billion (Recession)
Corporate Income Taxes Receipts 2012 = $ 242.3 Billion
Corporate Income Taxes Receipts 2013 = $ 273.5 Billion

Individual Income Taxes Receipts 1998 = $ 828.6 Billion
Individual Income Taxes Receipts 2002 = $ 858.3 Billion (Recession)
Individual Income Taxes Receipts 2006 = $1.044 Trillion
Individual Income Taxes Receipts 2007 = $1.163 Trillion
Individual Income Taxes Receipts 2008 = $1.146 Trillion
Individual Income Taxes Receipts 2009 = $ .915.3 Trillion (Recession)
Individual Income Taxes Receipts 2012 = $1.132 Trillion
Individual Income Taxes Receipts 2013 = $1.316 Trillion

TeethVillage88s's picture

oh now I'm shown as new? Guess someone is reporting me for false Federal Reserve Data?

James_Cole's picture

You're dumping data but not breaking it out by education. From BLS:

2013, by education attainment


TeethVillage88s's picture

I might be talking out my ass here but:

June 1979 was our Manufacturing Top. Free Trade, NAFTA, CAFTA, WTO Treaty, Other Treaties giving away our Sovereignty.

Probably corporations used Recessions and layoff times to build factories overseas or locate existing factories.
Of course Automation & Robots were coming in too.

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/MANEMP (12 Million down from 19.5 Million) All Employees: Manufacturing

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/USCONS (6 million down from 7.7 Million) All Employees: Construction

Information Services:
http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/USINFO (2.65 Million down from 3.7 Million) All Employees: Information Services

Professional & Business Services:
http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/USPBS (Up a million people since 2008 crash at 19.1 Million) All Employees: Professional & Business Services

Education & Health Services
http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/USEHS (21.4 Million rock steady through 2008) All Employees: Education & Health Services

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/USGOVT All Employees: Government

Financial Activities:
http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/USFIRE (7.9 Million down from 8.4 Million) All Employees: Financial Activities

Mining, Drilling, Logging
http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/USMINE (Peak was 1981, now .9 Million down from 1.3 Million) All Employees: Mining and logging

Hospitality & Leisure:
http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/USLAH (14.6 Million, nice trend line) All Employees: Leisure & Hospitality

Goods producing Industries:
http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/USGOOD (19 Million down from 25 Million) All Employees: Goods-Producing Industries

Service Providing Industries:
http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/SRVPRD (119.5 Million) All Employees: Service-Providing Industries

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/DMANEMP (7.6 Million down from 12.2 Million) All Employees: Durable goods
http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/NDMANEMP (4.5 Million down from 7.2 Million) All Employees: Nondurable goods

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/CES3231100001 All Employees: Nondurable Goods: Food Manufacturing

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/CES3231500001 All Employees: Nondurable Goods: Apparel

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/CES3232400001 All Employees: Nondurable Goods: Petroleum and Coal Products

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/CES3231400001 All Employees: Nondurable Goods: Textile Product Mills

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/CEU3231600001 All Employees: Nondurable Goods: Leather and Allied Products

Durable Goods (problem with data limited):
http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/CES3133600101 (.8 Mil down from 1.3 mil) All Employees: Durable Goods: Motor Vehicles and Parts

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/CES3133400001 (1 mil down from 1.9 mil) All Employees: Durable Goods: Computer and Electronic Products

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/CES3133410001 (.16 mil down from .38 mil) All Employees: Durable Goods: Computer and Peripheral Equipment

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/CES3133440001 (.4 Mil down from .7 Mil) All Employees: Durable Goods: Semiconductors and Electronic Components

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/CEU3132100001 (.37 mil down from .62 mil) All Employees: Durable Goods: Wood Products

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/CEU3133200001 (1.45 mil down from 1.75 mil) All Employees: Durable Goods: Fabricated Metal Products

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/CEU3133100001 (.4 mil down from .7 mil) All Employees: Durable Goods: Primary Metals

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/CES3133700001 (.367 mil down from .68 mil) All Employees: Durable Goods: Furniture and Related Products

Non Manufacturing:

Trade, Transportation & Utilities

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/USTPU (Recovered at 26.3 Million) All Employees: Trade, Transportation & Utilities

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/USWTRADE (Recovered to 5.86 Million) All Employees: Wholesale Trade

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/USTRADE (recovered to 15.3 Million) All Employees: Retail Trade

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/CES4422000001 (Were Utilities Privatized starting in 1990, down to .55 Mil from .74 Mil) All Employees: Utilities

Transportation & Warehousing:

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/CES4300000001 (Recovered to 4.6 Million) All Employees: Transportation and Warehousing

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/CES4348400001 (Recovered to 1.4 Mil) All Employees: Transportation and Warehousing: Truck Transportation

Whoa! Big Chart
http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/CES4348100001 (.46 Mil down from .63 Mil) All Employees: Transportation and Warehousing: Air Transportation

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/CES4348300001 (recovered to .068 Mil) All Employees: Transportation and Warehousing: Water Transportation

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/CEU4348200001 (old story here) All Employees: Transportation and Warehousing: Rail Transportation

Note originally I pulled data for retail stores & department stores... will have to review to see if I need additional supporting data for weakness in Retail to speak to your point... but don't see it as applicable.

TeethVillage88s's picture


BTW Defense Jobs seem to be Blacked Out as well as Aerospace... this is likely due to secrets and national security. But it is mostly Federal Funding and Defense Funding. Mostly you don't see growth in this industry. Profits just go to the top executives. It is a bad Economic Policy if you want to grow jobs... like the Star Wars Programs.

But there is no reason to think NASA has increase employment, rather it has cut jobs.

FredFlintstone's picture

STEM = Biology, economics? I think not.

TeethVillage88s's picture

Oh Fred,... really what does S stand for? Bacteria can produce energy.

FredFlintstone's picture

Biology is a girly science and a BS in it doesn't mean shit.

Oh, and it will take a Chem E to scale up and harness any useful energy from your little bacteria.

Owned, bitch.

TeethVillage88s's picture

Well it seems that Chemical Technology is linked to Organic Science and there is much to develop. But I'm not an Engineer or Scientist. If you become a PhD my father says you become unemployable or hard to place in Engineering. This is not a new thing.

Do we really need PhDs in Education? Should we find county money to employ School supervisors for over $120K a year or PhD in Education for more than that? No don't think so.

PhDs have to pay off loans and need special wages or else government grants and programs to help them.

PhDs are all over the STEM Spectrum.

But we lost software development jobs to off-shoring, the thing is.... you get head hunters trying to pump up wages and steal workers for new jobs. Capitalism. Head hunters are not right, they are persuasive and make wages rise.

TeethVillage88s's picture


You are teaching me something here.

Actually, there must have been pressure for Headhunters to go off-shore to look for talent (recruitment). Industry pushed for Off-shore Recruiting as surely as my name is G.W Bush.

This is globalism. Fuck our country men and recruit the cheap foreign labor.... Really worth sometime thinking over this. But don't pretend this is a new story for USA... Chinese Rail Road Laborers, Mining Workers, and all the death that resulted from this.

Corporations and Wealthy People are incapable of Patriotism... well look at Tax Inversion, look at Burger King... Look at the Theft & Fraud in the Iraqi War.

Corporate Patriotism? No, No way. More like Buy a politician times 10.

TeethVillage88s's picture

John Mauldin;

All apologies. I am not familiar with your work. Anyone that can stand in front of the Public... deserves support & understanding of what they are setting out do.

I will challenge your work, but hope that I, like you, can help and become more enlightened.

TeethVillage88s's picture


Good Night Fred.

The_Dude's picture

Greenspan was a huge promoter of H1-B.  This was an area where he could really get excited about regarding 'income inequality'.  When hedgefund managers are making billion...meh....but when scientists and engineers started to make good money he wanted to support any way to squash it.


In his book "The Age of Turbulence", (yes, I read it...ugh!!) his addendum to the book is a whole diatribe on how the taxpayer should be squeezed endlessly to pay schoolteachers more since it is for the 'betterment of society' and then goes on to discuss how we should absolutely destroy the wages of scientist and engineers with not a reflection at all on the consequences....What a fucking imbecile!!

johnconnor's picture

Let me share with you a story, I work in IT/Telco for a big company based in the valley area. I have been in this Industry for over 15 years, I am on my late 30s, so I am also in between the boomers and the millennials.
In my career I have seen a period in the late 90's, early 2000s of hiring booms, and perhaps a lack of not enough STEM american candidates, but since 2001, all I have seen is the workforce on IT Consulting, Telecom/Mobility, providers, networking equipment manufacturing go down in employees size through either lay-offs and mergers. Anytime there was a massive lay off wave, these companies will replace most of these workers with cheaper H1Bs mostly from India/Pakistan and China which eventually will move to higher responsibility jobs and hire more of their buddies with more visas.
The whole situation has gone to a point that I dare any of you to go to any of the San Jose-Sunnyvalle-Mountan view-Valley area network equipment companies and you will see floors literally filled with nothing but Indians and Chinese... there are floors with no american people at all, go and see for yourselves.
Another example, this one from this week. We have a new opening in our group and we are reviewing candidates, there is one I like (american guy, late 40s, very experienced, very smart) that I suggested to my manager as a great fit for my team. This guy, although very experienced and with a lot of knowledge is not 'all-knowing' in the new technologies, but he would be up to speed to be send to a customer with some on the job training in less than 3 months. My manager goes back to me and says "yes, he sounds very good but he may be very expensive and we want someone really to start working right away that have hands on experience on X, Y and Z". I told him, look, we can't get someone cheaper and less experienced, but I never seen a unicorn (magical creatures that knows everything, work as slaves, cheap and ready to kick it from the day one)". Sadly, at the end, he seem to be thinking that it would be better to get an H1B with X&Y and another one with Z.... worst of all he is american, and worst of all HR don't give a shit