Growing Number Of Companies Complain About Inability To Find Workers: So Why Is Wage Growth So Low?

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by Mike Shedlock via,

Since 2010, the highest year-over-year wage increase in any month for production and nonsupervisory employees is near 2.6%.

For a two-year stretch between summer of 2011 and summer of 2013 wage increases less than 2% were the norm.

Yet, firms complain about labor costs while simultaneously complaining about the lack of workers.

Bloomberg reports Firms Under Pressure as Labor Drought Grows, U.S. Survey Shows.

A growing number of companies are finding it difficult to recruit skilled workers, which threatens to curtail profits and growth, according to a quarterly survey conducted by the Washington-based National Association for Business Economics.


The results of NABE’s July Business Conditions Survey published on Monday showed that 34 percent of respondents have had trouble hiring skilled employees over the last three months, up from 27 percent in January. The Washington-based association polled 101 panelists, who are economists from companies and industry associations.


In response, companies are sponsoring foreign workers, expanding their search and hiring more independent contractors, according to the survey. They’re also boosting automation, stepping up internal training and in some cases improving pay, Jankowski said.


Perhaps at least partially as a result, more than a third of respondents cited labor costs as having the largest negative impact on their profits so far this year.

Year-Over-Year Wage Growth

Year-Over-Year Wage Growth

Is 2.6% wage growth too hefty even as corporations complain about a lack of workers?

What’s Going On?

  • It’s not just salaries. Obamacare and benefits are hurting many companies.
  • Cheap money from the Fed keeps zombie companies alive.
  • Cheap money from the Fed induced (and still does) overexpansion fast of food restaurants and retail stores of all sorts.
  • Workers really are not worth benefit costs plus an extra 3% so companies seek to automate.
  • Are McDonald’s workers worth $15? Please be serious.
  • Amazon and online shopping are weakening retail profits.

Finally, I suspect the survey is deeply flawed.

Does some random small to medium-sized company have the same weight as Walmart? The regional Fed manufacturing and ISM surveys seem to have that defect.

Yet for now, enough stores are still expanding which adds to job growth despite automation. Apparently, the goal is a McDonald’s or a Walmart on every corner.

We will not quite get that far. Rampant expansion will turn on a dime at some point, most likely globally.

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Bigly's picture

Answer: because they want you to take a 50% salary haircut 


(Fuck that...)

Arnold's picture

And they would lie to you, like cats.

Shitonya Serfs's picture

I disagree with the 50% cut in pay. Companies are weary of hiring someone who's just going to sit around complaining the work is too hard, lacks an understanding about everything, surfs their phone all day, and takes a "mental" health day every Friday or Monday.

jcaz's picture

Pfft- why pay labor when you can just buy back shares?

It's not like any CEO is worried about anything further out than the next 18 months.

DownWithYogaPants's picture

Engineer here.  In the engineering market they have grown accustomed to the H1B schtick where to pay rock bottom wages and tie the wog to the job like a dog on a clothes line runner chain.

It's a shitty market for engineering jobs.  So methodology of survey appears to be tailored to outcome desired by our corporate overloards.

Doña K's picture

Not only that. Many who have been unemployed for a while are on .gov dole and hooked on psycotropics, do not want to make the "U" turn.

A large recruiter told me that the only jobs available they have are mechanical maintenance people. Nothing else. They have 300000 resumes and not have enough time to review them.

Theosebes Goodfellow's picture

~"Growing Number Of Companies Complain About Inability To Find Slaves"~



froze25's picture

This is the problem with separating management that actually oversees operations from the hiring process. You can have a applicant that has a horribly written resume but after the interview you can determine that what they lack in writing skills is far outweighed by their knowledge of the Job.
Or better yet their resume list skills that are exactly what you need but use diffrent technical jargen to describe them. A person that actually oversees the work would normally be able to get that in the interview but an HR person wouldn't have a clue.

I personally hire based on very little criteria.
1. Clearly is intelligent, so sorry don't want dumb-asses.
2. Has a clear history of employment with no major lapses (some exceptions can be made)
3. Does some type of regular volunteer work or has done it in the recent past.
4. Must be "into" what we do. (in my line its common place).

Interview a lot of applicants, It can be a pain in the ass but its worth it.

Sonny Brakes's picture

Tell me if I'm right. A people hire B people, and B people hire C people, and so on.

armageddon addahere's picture

First rate people hire first rate people. Second rate people hire third rate people.

Richard Chesler's picture
Growing Number Of Companies Complain About Inability To Find Skilled Workers Willing To Work For Peanuts.



giovanni_f's picture

"Does some type of regular volunteer work"

we have a social control freak here

Raging Debate's picture

Giovanni - My best mentor told me business will never be perfect but as success happens always give some back to the community. Giving back gave me valuable insights I wouldnt have ever gained otherwise. A recent example was I was nominated as a president of our HOA. It is an unpaid job. I am turning the ship around and have learned more about nepotism and how to refocus people than raw business or a ZH could ever teach me. Plus, made some great new friends and potential investors if I ever need them. The final plus is this area is prime real estate, it is raising me and other Owners asset values :) 

 A man or woman that understands the value of charity (note I ddnt say welfare) is usually a wise person indeed. 

BarkingCat's picture

I live in Seattle and hate this community. I would not volunteer to help any of these people.

Okay I guess I could volunteer at the animal shelter but then I would have to deal with the same kind of assholes that I'm trying to avoid on a daily basis.

Teja's picture

That is what I see too. And additionally, HR people select for paper skills ticked off a list (eg knowing some obscure software tool), while a good engineer or programmer would be able to acquire the missing skills within a short time. That restricts the list of applicants to a minimum, without guarantee of quality.

HR people should be restricted to hire other HR people only.


Snoopy the Economist's picture

"It's a shitty market for engineering jobs."

I see the opposite. I have turned down multiple $100K+ jobs in the last 8 months (looking for the perfect match). My son (Computer eng) with 5 yrs experience make $115k and I know a few other engineers that just got good jobs


I think you need to look elsewhere for work

BarkingCat's picture

Unless your son is designing chips or circuits he is not a computer engineer.

All those people at Microsoft love to call themselves software engineers. In reality they are programmers.


Other than that it depends on what field of real engineering someone is in.

Mechanical engineers might be displaced by H1B1 while electrical engineers are not.

Snoopy the Economist's picture

It's interesting (and sad/pathetic) I get a lot of down votes - is that because I stated that the engineering job market is actually doing well and that doesn't fit with the 'doom'? I'm just stating the truth as I see it.



ghengiskhan's picture

That's it.  They have no need for more employees when they can just churn ZIRP loans while maintaining the illusion of productivity.  I know several start-ups who advertise engineering and management positions that have no intention of hiring just to maintain the illusion of productivity and growth.  Ask the recruiters how common this is ..... really common.  Also many of these companies are searching for magical employees that have decades of experience coupled with a decade of school or many years of experience with a brand new technology.  It's just nonsense especially in the tech / virtual sector living off of Zero Interest loans.

ejmoosa's picture

Companies no longer want to train their own employees.  They do not promote from within. 

Somehow they believe that it is government that should provide trained workers.


By the way these are the same employers who spend $5 a cup for coffee because they think they are paying for what they get.  They just cannot connect the dots...

ejmoosa's picture

I guess it's hard to hire and train someone at minimum wage when you are only willing to pay your exprienced staff minimum wage as well.



ThirdWorldNut's picture

Thats why our enlightened dear leaders - comrade Sanders and comrade Corbyn - have decided to give free college education for everyone. 

I Feel a little Qeasy's picture

It's not free, nothing ever is. With your degree you earn more than average, and therefor pay more in taxes than average, i.e. you pay it back. NOT FREE.

Whether or not you want the state involved is another question.

ejmoosa's picture

That may have been true at one point.  But with all of the miscellaneaous worthless degrees topped with debt, and the graduates are in worse shape than had they skipped college, went to work and kept working.

Arnold's picture

I work with a bunch now.
Same pay.
Net zero or negative productivity (rework).


Bigly's picture

I did not downvote you BUT

As a sr mgr who has had multiple units and cost centers I will allow that deadwood %s are way too large... BUT it is not just that people are getting low/no increases (pvt sector, not govt) when there are layoffs, one cannot get their old salary back.

Inflation continues to pound away no matter what.

There ARE people who are not deadwood who are falling behind. This is systemic.

Offshoring and h1b visas were the final straw but the fact is mgmt has been too focused on short term results for a couple decades at this point.


Shitonya Serfs's picture

I was just pointing out why I don't get hired.

Offthebeach's picture

Work for my town government.  5 hours to paint a fire hydrant.  $25/hr, full benefits.  pension, family health and dental, morning and afternoon coffee break.  Hour for lunch....about 5 hours "at" work, per day.


Arnold's picture

The match book cover said I, too, could work in High Tech, if I could draw "Pinkey".

I could not.

HRClinton's picture

A: because they want to have an excuse to hire more H1B types from Chindia.

Just HR and PR games.

Sonny Brakes's picture

He's an idea.

1. When posting a job don't post it through an agency that takes their vig.

2. Be honest about the conditions of employment. The hours, the time of day, where the job is located, is there travelling involved, do I need to use my own vehicle.

3. What exactly the job involves. Will I be needing to compromise my personal ethics?

4. What credentials do I honestly need or do you use credentials to disqualify people from even applying.

5. Post the wages, benefits, etc.

In other words, sell me on why I should want to come and work for you?

nidaar's picture

"finding it difficult to recruit skilled workers"

just toss in more H1Bs, problem solved.


CPL's picture

That was the case once.  But a round table was had in April with other house groups and they are also running a cull in their countries.  Glacial period is up an coming, everyone that's been through this cycle before knows one thing.  Having excess overhead is a bad place to be.  Most the members argued how it could be done and that was easy.   Bio-engineered weaponized H1N1.  Now H9N7...fact is while you were all sleeping and looking the wrong direction.

We've already killed all the people that supply everyone with labour, food and energy.  Your welcome, enjoy being trapped in your 1080p universe until the power goes tits up.  In the meanwhile you can have fun watching the extinction of all those on the surface.  As mentioned, starting from scratch was always going to be the direction selected if no payment was given.

----H9N7 dead count - all gone----

June 3rd 2017

May 7th 2017

May 1st 2017

April 27th 2017

April 22nd 2017

April 02 2017

el buitre's picture

Be sure to take your nagalase laden flu shot.  It's your patriotic duty.  Join the herd with your "immunity."

CPL's picture

YUM!  Everyone line up for your free Cancer shot!  (I wonder how many idiots would line up for free nagalase shots?)

pazmaker's picture

What are the meaning of those maps?

CPL's picture

All those dots on the map are where people that can catch H9N7. It highlights where people actually live.  If you noticed places like Canada and Russia haven't had a peep out of them for years.  I suspect you all know why as well.  I also suspect you all know why now all of the people of earth had to die as well.  It took very little energy to arrange a highly virulent and newly weaponized strain that kills everything but bugs and trees. 

If you notice there is only one area left with people now.  China.  The rest of them are all dead or in hiding.  The base numbers I've getting back are 8.4 billion dead, there are currently less than 30,000 people left on earth in the cities with a natural immunity to H9N7.   A secondary and third virus based from a couple things lying around are being deployed in a week to clean up any stragglers and take care of of asshole lizards that owe me money. 

Should have confirmation of a total system reset when the RSOE system stops updating.  Once the emergency management system stops updating means you are all getting kicked out of where you are.  Protip:  Don't die from the three plagues that are going to be running around there when you are thrown back to your shithole home 'erf' to roll around in the approaching 130000 year glacial period that always happens after the 14000 year interglacial period.

Never One Roach's picture

Has Starbucks found its 10,000 refugees yet?

Too bad Starbucks does not have the same consideration for poor American citizens who also need jobs.

Md4's picture

Starbucks just raised prices, I hear...

Wonder how much of it will go to workers?

Red Raspberry's picture

That would be low paid skilled workers.

Grandad Grumps's picture

The social and educational programs given to us by the Tavistock institute and their cronies are not designed to give people the skills and attitudes needed to be the right kind of workers.

Purpose, creativity and incentive have been taken away. Job well done!

Righttoarmbears's picture

Couldn't have put it more succinctly, no pride in ones self or worth, just gime gime gime culture

CPL's picture

They are being culled.

me123me's picture

Problem is they want someone that has the exact skills they want. They arent flexible at all. Thats the problem, not shortage of workers. 

Oreilly's picture

I agree with this.

In addition, hiring has been turned over to HR, even at smaller firms. HR guarantees that only someone who matches what's written in black and white will be hired, because they have no f-ing idea what the job actually requires and can only go by the exact script written in their database.

I do also think there is a hesitancy to hire more experienced staff due to the insecurity in the economy. Firms do not want to get stuck laying off high priced staff (except golden parachute type layoffs ... those they don't mind so much).

Bigly's picture


ZHrs, I implore you if you are sr at your company, get your execs to understand that THE BEST HR PEOPLE ARE OLDER WORKERS WHO HAVE DONE THESE JOBS AND UNDERSTAND YOUR INDUSTRY. Not some 25 year old bimbo, a word match or someone in the Phillipines..

In fact, after these workers mentor the next gen, put these people in these positions until they retire. 

1.gets older workers out of these positions once trained next gen and frees them up

2. Gives them meaningful positions that can even be done remotely

3. Will hire truly better matches.

Anyone game???

The Ram's picture

Many companies have their own custom software or commercial software that has been heavily customized.  There seems to be the non-sense notion that everyone is trained for 1 type of environment or one specific company.  Most companies survive in IT by having just a few people who understand the systems.  I can say that when some of the old timers die off or retire, there will be some really hard up companies.  Oh well, what happens when everyone is looking for the 1-2 skilled people in the country with a particular system in a specialized environment?  We are definitely down the rabbit hole.  

scintillator9's picture

An addendum would be beside the match, also have about a minimum of ten years experience, a Bachelors or PHD degree, various certifications, licenses, etc.

In the past, when I applied for a different occupation, I became irate over how I more or less wasted my morning after being told I did not have "recent job skills".

Other friends of mine who are in a similar age group who have degrees, certificates, experience, etc, are finding it difficult to become employed even after having interview after interview.

In short, it is all bullshit.












Xena fobe's picture

Dont forget bilingual required so they can hire only their own ethnic group.

LawsofPhysics's picture

Clearly, these business do not get to use "mark to fantasy" accounting like all the bankers and financiers...

I agree, the survey is flawed (most likely by design, much akin to The Fed's inflation calculation)


"Full Faith and Credit"