PBS - Nightly Business Report - Private Sector Jobs Rise & So Does Unemployment
NBR Transcripts-September 3, 2010
Friday, September 03, 2010
Private Sector Jobs Rise & So Does Unemployment
The so-called under employment rate also rose last month to 16.7 percent. This includes workers whose hours have been cut as well as those who would like to work but have given up their job hunt out of frustration. Scott Gurvey, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, New York.
DARREN GERSH, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:
After what you just heard, you are going to find this hard to believe. There are employers out there who say they are having trouble finding good people to hire even in this economy. Employers like Drew Greenblatt at Marlin Steel Wire. How can you have high unemployment and you got good jobs going unfilled?
DREW GREENBLATT, PRESIDENT, MARLIN STEEL WIRE:
We have a mismatch. We have people out there that are skilled and trained, let`s say, to work in a retail showroom or to work in a McDonalds or a restaurant. They are not necessarily trained to be able to know what a radius is or to know how to read a tape measure or to know how to read a blueprint or know how to change a bearing, or a die set in a robot.
You can see Marlin Steel Wire`s challenge right here -- 51 minutes. That`s how much longer this machine will run before it shuts down and has to be set up again. Now the operator who set up this machine has already gone home for the night. His shift is over. If they could find somebody else to come in and set up this machine, it could run all night long. Greenblatt says he is even having some trouble finding a bookkeeper. After getting more than 250 resumes, he found just four candidates who know manufacturing and job costing. One toured the floor while we visited. And, yes, Greenblatt is offering more money -- 20 percent more -- to find the right person.
So we thought it was going to be really easy to fill this position. So we`re actually surprised about how much of a challenge it`s been for us.
Experts in manufacturing, like Jerry Jasinowski, aren`t surprised. He estimates one fifth of the nation`s unemployment problem is structural, meaning there`s a mismatch between what people can do and what the economy needs them to do.
JERRY JASINOWSKI, FORMER PRES., NATL. ASSOC. OF MANUFACTURING:
All of this talk about short-term stimulus, even with the good ideas that are sometimes laid out, misses the point that there is not a short-term fix to this high unemployment problem. We are in a new slower growth economy with higher unemployment and we are going to have to invest a lot more in skill training.
But Greenblatt`s strategy is to keep costs low, move fast and deliver high quality. That`s how he beats China. To do that, he says, he needs workers right now. So why don`t you just train them, isn`t that the solution?
That`s a good strategy. The problem is that we`re lean. And when you`re lean, you don`t have a lot of extra people around who have free time to train.
Other employers we spoke with say some jobs are hard to fill, but for different reasons. Some skilled workers are afraid to take a chance on a new employer. Some are underwater on their house and can`t move for a new job. And there are employers who admit in a tough economy they get a lot more picky about who they will hire -- maybe too picky which is why Obama economic adviser Christina Romer says there is no evidence of a massive skills mismatch.
CHRISTINA ROMER, CHAIR, COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS:
This is not the new normal. It`s the old cyclical that we are still in the middle of a recession. We still have not enough demand for a normal level of output and that`s the fundamental reason why unemployment is high.
But don`t tell that to Drew Greenblatt. He just spent $700,000 on new equipment -- there`s just one thing missing.
We`re standing adjacent to five robots that are not running right now. And they`re not running right now because I don`t have enough smart people like them to set them up right now.
Darren Gersh, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, Baltimore.