With the September unemployment rate scheduled to be released on Friday, there has been even more discussion than usual on the factors behind the high unemployment. Many companies are saying that a major contributing factor is the mismatch between skills and workers—even highly educated workers. This mismatch takes place because many educated members of the labor force have spent years honing a specific set of skills; when fewer positions that require those skills are available, those skilled workers have nowhere to turn!
A recent study by economists from the New York Federal Reserve and New York University determined that approximately one third of the increase in unemployment among college-educated workers from 2006 to 2010 had to do with a skills mismatch. According to the Wharton School’s Betsey Stevenson, former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor, “When highly productive people lose their jobs, or are forced to do something less productive, we’re going to feel that as an economy.” Fortunately, economists seem to consider skills mismatch to be a transitory issue; young members of the labor force will begin to look at careers that offer more opportunities. Let’s hope that the figures released this Friday will give us some hope for the coming months!