Croker Sack

"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard." — Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Trade advantage changing to favor USA?

This article in The Telegraph (UK) makes a surprisingly optimistic prediction:

The American phoenix is slowly rising again. Within five years or so, the US will be well on its way to self-sufficiency in fuel and energy. Manufacturing will have closed the labour gap with China in a clutch of key industries. The current account might even be in surplus.

The slow growth coming out of the recession can be discouraging, so it would be nice to think that things may get better for reasons we ordinary folks might not have expected. More petroleum and natural gas from US sources and more manufacturing here in the US (and lower imports) could give us a better economy.

Unfortunately, the global situation may still put a damper on things, as the article states:

The switch in advantage to the US is relative. It does not imply a healthy US recovery. The global depression will grind on as much of the Western world tightens fiscal policy and slowly purges debt, and as China deflates its credit bubble.

So everything is relative, but I'd rather be on the good side of that relative balance than the bad; and more "made in USA" labels on what we buy could mean more jobs here in the US.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Job openings that Americans can't fill

Reuters has an article that points out the availability of quite a few well-paying job opportunities that remain open for lack of qualified Americans.

Too few college students pursue the studies they need to fill the available jobs:

Math, engineering, technology and computer science students accounted for about 11.1 percent of college graduates in 1980, according to government data. That share dropped to about 8.9 percent in 2009.

Whose fault is that?

Vocational education (presumably referring to the secondary school level and perhaps also at the technical/community college level, doesn’t teach what is needed to the students who choose to pursue this type of education:

"Often people say we do have vocational training, but it's geared toward yesterday's technology and yesterday's job opportunities," said ATS's Owens. "I am not sure the educators are on the mark with what exactly needs to be taught for today's environment."
Whose fault is that?

If employers know what knowledge job applicants need to be successful, what is keeping them from informing the students and the public school administrators and faculty?

If the faculty and administrators of our schools know what is needed, do they make reasonable efforts to inform the students?

If the students have this information available to them but still choose to pursue studies that do not qualify them to perform the available jobs, then isn’t it the fault of the students when they have poor job prospects?