Dean Baker Thinks Unfilled Jobs More Due to “Incompetent Managers” Than Skills Gap

Today I noticed that Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, who knows a lot more about this stuff than I do, shared my skepticism about this Washington Post article on the alleged skills gap in the manufacturing sector. Actually his response was a lot stronger than mine:

The Washington Post told readers that the manufacturing industry is suffering from incompetent managers and therefore is not hiring as many workers as it should. According to the Post, managers don’t realize that it is necessary to raise wages to attract more workers and instead are whining that they can’t get the workers they need to fill vacancies.

Baker produced a chart showing how far hourly wages for non-supervisory workers in the manufacturing sector has fallen in recent years, and it’s kind of astounding:

Chart showing decline in manufacturing wages

Source: Dean Baker, CEPR, using Bureau of Labor Statistics data.