30,000 Unfilled Jobs in Illinois

Say “skills gap” to any manufacturer, and invariably they’ll respond with the number 600,000. That’s the gaping hole of unfilled jobs at U.S. manufacturers — for Illinois, estimates point to 30,000 unfilled jobs. The talent shortfall carries serious consequences. In a Manufacturing Institute 2011 skills gap report surveying more than 1,100 U.S. manufacturers, 74 percent of respondents said a lack of skilled production workers was harming productivity or hindering their ability to expand operations.

That skills gap will widen. The Society of Manufacturing Engineers, based in Dearborn, Mich., predicts the number of unfilled manufacturing jobs will reach 3 million by 2015.

via Crain’s Chicago Business.

Holy Cow!!

To be fair, the rest of the article talks about how wages for machinist have not kept pace with inflation; that may be true.  But isn’t taking a job at $13 or $14 an hour better than sitting home watching Judge Judy and playing xbox all day?

These jobs are fun too.  In a former life I used to work with a lot of machinist and injection molding operators and tool & die guys, and other people who I think had cool jobs.  You get to build things.  You get to play with equipment that costs more than your house.  At the end of the day you can go home and tell your family that you did something with your day.  You didn’t just move paper from one side of the desk to the other (like I do now.)

What we have here is evidence of the complete failing of our educational system.  Children not only don’t have the most rudimentary math skills necessary to become a machinist or CNC operator but they don’t have the intellectual curiosity and patience to solve complicated puzzles.  That’s what these jobs really are… puzzle solvers.  Figure our how to make something better than it’s being made today, faster, cheaper.

We have to turn this around.  Show kids that learning is fun and that building (and breaking) stuff can lead to a rewarding job that might not get you a house in Lake Forest but will certainly allow you to put food on the table, gas in the car, and take a decent vacation every year.

We will not survive as a nation if people will stay home rather than work for a living.

Pete’s Update – 09/27/2012

A couple of new things to report on the situation with Pete’s Fresh Market.

As most readers know, the story has now made the local papers and WGN TV News.  Here’s what’s new — and what you won’t read in those papers:

My original story stated that “the ring-leader of the group of thugs who showed up at Pete’s is known acquaintance of Ald. Burnett’s chief of staff.”  I’ve now been told that may or may not be correct.  There was some confusion as to who exactly it was from Ald. Burnett’s office.

What we now know is that it was Ald. Burnett’s assistant chief of staff who was actually on-site and fully participated in the shakedown.  There is a rumor that one of the construction workers actually captured the event on video with his/her cell phone.  It is for this reason that Ald. Burnett has had to come out and acknowledge that his staff was there.

Local community organization HOW United has announced that they will be having a community meeting to discuss the situation with Pete’s.


announces a public meeting on

October 03, 2012
6:00 PM – 7:00PM

St. Malachy Church
2248 West Washington Boulevard
Chicago, Illinois 60612


Everyone who cares about removing corruption from the system should plan to attend.  A packed house will show the rest of the world that at least there are some people who will stand up to corrupt politicians.

Harvard vs. South Dakota Mine School

Which Grads make more?

Harvard University’s graduates are earning less than those from the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology after a decade-long commodity bull market created shortages of workers as well as minerals.

Those leaving the [SDSMT] college of 2,300 students this year got paid a median salary of $56,700, according to PayScale Inc., which tracks employee compensation data from surveys. At Harvard, where tuition fees are almost four times higher, they got $54,100. Those scheduled to leave the campus in Rapid City, South Dakota, in May are already getting offers, at a time when about one in 10 recent U.S. college graduates is out of work.via Bloomberg.

Good old fashioned job.

Man I wish we had some of them around here.

‘Patent Trolls’ Get Biggest Piece Of Patent Pie

So-called patent trolls – which don’t actually make anything – in recent years received significantly larger damages awards on average than those won by companies that make things, a new report found.

Critics of “trolls,” or nonpracticing entities, claim they hold huge numbers of patents and make money by simply attacking others with litigation.

During the 2006-2011 period, these “trolls” received a median damages payment of $6.9 million versus practicing entities’ $3.7 million, according to the study by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

via Business Insider.

I know this is not my usual post but it’s important.  These Patent Trolls cost everyone money and contribute nothing to the economy.  They don’t provide jobs.  They provide little tax revenue.  Yet they drive up the cost of goods that we all buy on a regular basis.

This is a legal problem that must be solved in Washington if we want to get this country moving again.


The Unemployment Farce: Only 42% of People Working

Worst news ever!!

The number of Americans whom the U.S. Department of Labor counted as “not in the civilian labor force” in August hit a record high of 88,921,000.  …

In July, there were 155,013,000 in the U.S. civilian labor force. In August that dropped to 154,645,000—meaning that on net 368,000 people simply dropped out of the labor force last month and did not even look for a job.There were also 119,000 fewer Americans employed in August than there were in July. In July, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 142,220,000 Americans working. But, in August, there were only 142,101,000 Americans working.

Despite the fact that fewer Americans were employed in August than July, the unemployment rate ticked down from 8.3 in July to 8.1. That is because so many people dropped out of the labor force and stopped looking for work. The unemployment rate is the percentage of people in the labor force (meaning they had a job or were actively looking for one) who did not have a job.

The Bureau of Labor Statistic also reported that in August the labor force participation rate (the percentage of the people in the civilian non-institutionalized population who either had a job or were actively looking for one) dropped to a 30-year low of 63.5 percent, down from 63.7 percent in July. The last time the labor force participation rate was as low as 63.5 percent was in September 1981.

via cnsnews.

Think about that.  In August the U.S. civilian labor force was 154,645,000 people.  The unemployment rate among those people was 8.1%.  So of those 154M who could/should be working 12,526,245 were not.  These 12.5M are on unemployment.  That means that 142,118,755 people are working; hooray for them!!

We are a country of 314,330,000 people.  That means that only 42% of the people in this country are working.

Forty-Two Percent of people in this country are working.

Just think about that for a little bit.

Teens Employment Lowest Since WWII – Obama Not Helping

This article was published yesterday about the same time that Obama was in the Rose Garden making the situation worse:

Fewer than 3 in 10 American teenagers now hold jobs such as running cash registers, mowing lawns or busing restaurant tables from June to August. The decline has been particularly sharp since 2000, with employment for 16-to-19-year olds falling to the lowest level since World War II.  …

The drop in teen employment, steeper than for other age groups, is partly a cultural shift. More youths are spending summer months in school, at music or learning camps or in other activities geared for college. But the decline is especially troubling for teens for whom college may be out of reach, leaving them increasingly idle and with few options to earn wages and job experience.Older workers, immigrants and debt-laden college graduates are taking away lower-skill work as they struggle to find their own jobs in the weak economy. Upper-income white teens are three times as likely to have summer jobs as poor black teens, sometimes capitalizing on their parents’ social networks for help.

Overall, more than 44 percent of teens who want summer jobs don’t get them or work fewer hours than they prefer.

via HeraldNet.com.

Holy Cow!!  Three passages worth repeating:

[T]he decline is especially troubling for teens for whom college may be out of reach,
leaving them increasingly idle and with few options to earn wages and job experience.

Just who are these kids who are now left with few options?  My guess is urban city kids.  In the country there’s always work on the farm.  But in the city & suburbs we have thousands and thousands of idle kids.  Hanging around with noth’n to do; just look’n for trouble.

Older workers, immigrants and debt-laden college graduates are taking away
lower-skill work as they struggle to find their own jobs in the weak economy.

Isn’t this the truth.  Have you ever been to a Wal-Mart where the greeter was under 50?  And now everywhere you go, every single stinking fast food place, sit-down restaurant, Target, Wal-Mart, grocery store, and nearly everywhere else has adult immigrants working there.  In the ’70s and ’80s these jobs were good (great) jobs for kids to get.  Two people I know very well worked at Jewel when they were in high school.  One put herself through college; the other bought a Camaro.

With the new (unconstitutional) Obama plan on immigration the job market will now have another few million young people who are eligible to work … but will struggle to find decent employment.  It serves no one when you just set people up to fail.

Upper-income white teens are three times as likely to have summer jobs as poor black teens….

This is what I wrote yesterday; inner city kids are going to be one of the biggest losers in the immigration debacle.  Contrary to what some people believe, one cannot just walk into a job that pays $100,000 per year.  Everyone has to start somewhere.  Usually that means that kids bus tables at a local restaurant, caddie, work retail, mow lawns, wash cars, whatever.  These jobs are important because they teach critical lessons necessary to move up in the world: show-up on time, look nice, smile, how to deal with conflict, how to deal with a boss, etc.  You can’t just wake-up one day and think you’re going to get a job as a banker without having decent people skills.

Obama is dooming generations of inner city kids to lives of and on government sustenance.  These kids will never reach their full potential because they have so many factors stacked against them: poor educational systems, uneducated parents, no access to jobs, and a president who’s bargained their futures for political gain.

Layoffs on Wall Street?

After adding thousands bankers in the past two years, financial firms again appear to be on the verge of cutting that many positions and then some. Consultants and Wall Street recruiters say banks could eliminate nearly 21,000 jobs from their securities divisions in New York alone. Worldwide cuts could be even larger. Recruiters say big banks are in the process of finalizing their downsizing plans, and that layoffs could start soon.

The latest round of job cuts could rival those that happened during the financial crisis. Back then, which was less than four years ago, Wall Street eliminated 28,000 positions. But that round of downsizing included the collapse of Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, and the biggest crisis in the financial markets since the Great Depression. By comparison, the stock market is up this year, and just last week banks reported better than expected earnings for the first quarter. What’s more, at the same time large firms are firing, many smaller investment banks have been staffing up. As a result, overall employment on Wall Street might not drop as much as it did after the financial crisis.

via Fortune Mag.

Two thoughts:

First, just so everyone knows, the crisis in not over; we’re not out of the woods yet.  It’s sad whenever anybody loses their job and there may be a lot more of this coming.  Bankers, especially investment bankers, are especially susceptible.  A story this week about how JP Morgan Chase lost $2 billion in their “synthetic credit portfolio” shows with what relative ease the wheels can fall off the bankers bus.  Everyone who works in that industry is on the edge everyday.

Second, this is a fine example of the private sector doing something the public sector cannot — getting rid of unnecessary people.  We know from the 2010 U.S. Census that Illinois while Illinois is growing its 3% rate over a decade is enemic compared to other states; we lost a U.S. House seat.  Yet Illinois government continues to grow and grow and grow.  We need to right-size Illinois government.  Some agencies are actually understaffed; leaving taxpayers waiting for basis services.  Others are bloated with staff getting paid to attend baseball games.

IL, 3rd Worst for Business …again

Let’s first get some background on the winners:

In Chief Executive’s eighth annual survey of CEO opinion of Best and Worst States in which to do business, Texas easily clinched the No. 1 rank, the eighth successive time it has done so. California earns the dubious honor of being ranked dead last for the eighth consecutive year.  …

Florida moved up from number three last year to number two. Last year, Florida Gov. Rick Scott penned a tongue-in-cheek letter to Texas Gov. Rick Perry, warning him that Florida is coming after the Lone Star State’s top ranking. Since Scott took office, his administration has enacted business tax and regulatory reforms that have contributed to the creation of more than 140,000 private sector jobs and an unemployment drop of 2.1 percentage points last year—one of the biggest decreases in the nation.It is perhaps no coincidence that Texas and Florida have the highest net migration of people to their states from 2001 to 2009. (By contrast, New York and California lost over 1.6 million and 1.5 million in net migration out of the states, respectively, over the same period.) People migrate in search of employment, but this can cut both ways. Texas is justly proud of adding to its employment numbers, something Gov. Perry cited numerous times during his brief campaign for the Republican Presidential nomination. Between June 2009—which marked the official end of the recession—and July 2011, the number of jobs increased in the state by 328,000. Nationally, the job growth in that time period was 697,000 according to figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This translates to Texas jobs making up 47 percent of the national net job creation. However, neither Texas, nor the nation, is adding jobs at a pace fast enough to bring down unemployment to historically normal levels. And Texas’ unemployment rate—while still below the national average—is now higher than that of 26 states

via Chief Executive Magazine.

Wow!!  Congratulations to Florida and Texas for being massive job creators.

Illinois?  You rank 47th.

One CEO commented that “Illinois is in a race to the bottom.”

Congrats Gov. Quinn, Michael Madigan, Mayor Daley, and the rest of the cabal for driving businesses and job out of Illinois.  We’re shrinking while other states are growing.  You’ve forced millions of people to suffer while you’ve enriched yourselves.