Current wisdom in the business world is that the “skills gap” is one factor behind America’s slow economic recovery. According to this theory, employers can’t find enough workers with requisite technical skills and basic “soft skills” as well.
While these skills gap claims have received a lot of attention, the jury is still out on the theory. A number of recent articles and blog posts have been looking at this debate. Here are the links:
- The Atlanta Fed’s Macroblog on the Skills Gap.
- A Chicago Fed Letter: “Is there a Skills Mismatch in the Labor Market?”
- Bryan Kelsey of Civic Analytics has his own take on “The Skills Shortage: Fact or Fiction.”
They all reach a similar conclusion. While the US suffers from a set of long-term challenges related to workforce skills and training, the skills gap is not a major cause of our current state of anemic job growth. Instead, long-term structural factors are at work. So–we need to do a better job of helping Americans gain key skills, but don’t blame weak skills for today’s unemployment problems.