Here’s the ugly side of the U.S. unemployment problem that would be political suicide for a politician to highlight.
Current U.S. unemployment isn’t just about a lack of job creation from companies, outsourcing, or a lack of trade protections.
Sometimes it’s just due to a lack of skills on the part of Americans.
For example, Ben Venue Laboratories can’t find 100 people out of 3,600 with rudimentary maths skills:
Here in this suburb of Cleveland, supervisors at Ben Venue Laboratories, a contract drug maker for pharmaceutical companies, have reviewed 3,600 job applications this year and found only 47 people to hire at $13 to $15 an hour, or about $31,000 a year.
All candidates at Ben Venue must pass a basic skills test showing they can read and understand maths at a ninth-grade level. A significant portion of recent applicants failed, and the company has been disappointed by the quality of graduates from local training programs. It is now struggling to fill 100 positions.
“You would think in tough economic times that you would have your pick of people,” said Thomas J. Murphy, chief executive of Ben Venue.
America might have gotten away with such things in the past, before the much of the world had its act together, but today this is inexcusable for a nation that wants to remain the world’s superpower. There are millions of smart educated people in developing countries earning far less than what basic labour in the U.S. demands, and even many of the basic manufacturing workers in places like China might have been able to pass Ben Venue’s maths tests.