The Skills Shortage

Currently, U.S. jobs data suggests that overall unemployment is relatively low, underemployment remains an issue, labor force participation is relatively low and there appears to be a significant skills mismatch, which is likely to get worse.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that millions of jobs stand empty because employers are unable to fill jobs that are in high demand as the economy recovers, because that there is a shortage of skilled workers and workers with the right mix of skills.

Not only is solid skills shortage data difficult to find, but proposed solutions are diverse, potentially expensive and, to some extent, lack evidence of proven efficacy.

One potential solution, that has garnered significant interest, is the European apprenticeship.  The heart of the European system is, “dual training”, whereby trainees split their days between classroom instruction at a vocational school and on-the-job time at a company.

While exact data regarding the extent of the skills shortage may be hard to come by, it is real and should be a matter of interest to investors.  The availability of workers with the required skills is essential to long term economic growth.

All comments and suggestions are welcome.

Walter J. Kirchberger, CFA®