As stated in the Boston Globe: The growth of the state economy slowed to a crawl in the last three months of 2016 as the shortage of skilled workers squeezed company expansion plans, the University of Massachusetts reported on Friday. The state’s unemployment rate in December was 2.8 percent, the lowest its been in 16 years, and while that’s good news for workers and those searching for jobs, it is making it difficult on employers who can’t find the people they need to fill positions, said Alan Clayton-Matthews, an economics professor at Northeastern University.
As many of you know, I was laid off from my job about a year ago. As part of my duties to qualify for unemployment payments, I had to research the position that I held and learn what the going rate was for that position in the marketplace. What I learned was that my position pay range was $45-60K. That explained one thing to me straight away. I was being paid several thousand dollars more than the high end of that range, and I was getting four weeks vacation. While the reasons for my termination were never given, apart from, “We have to make changes” and “The company is going in a new direction”, it seemed clear that at the age of 61 and a salary well over the high end of the pay scale, termination of my employment allowed the owner of the company to hire someone for less and increase his personal profit. I had skills. I was computer literate. Many of the systems that the company incorporated into its daily operation were conceived, developed, and implemented by me. I also have impeccable skills when it comes to dealing with difficult customers. In fact, in a way, I enjoy the challenge. But I was let go, no doubt replaced with less expensive labor.
Today, I am working part-time. For what it’s worth I’ve been lucky enough to save a few bucks and with frugal living, I should be able to live the rest of my life in relative comfort. On each drive to work, along Route 9 in Westborough, Shrewsbury, Northborough, I see “Help Wanted” signs on many businesses. Beauty salons, fast food joints, car maintenance facilities, gas stations, Big Box home improvement centers, retailers. diners, all with what looks like semi-permanent ”Help Wanted” signs.
Unemployment is under 3%.
Employers who typically pay the minimum wage are starving for labor. What “skills” are needed at beauty salons, fast food joints, car maintenance facilities, gas stations, Big Box home improvement centers, retailers that our workforce does not have?
What am I missing?
Why are wages not soaring?
If the old “supply and demand” holds true, we have a huge demand for labor and a small supply, so wages should be soaring.
What am I missing?