Explaining Southern California's economy

Is a 'labor mismatch' making the jobs crisis worse?

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Job seekers wait in line to enter the San Francisco Hire Event job fair in San Francisco. They could be in the wrong place.

Just in time for last week's terrible jobs report from the Labor Department (150,000 new jobs expected, a mere 69,000 new jobs added, and that's U-G-L-Y), American Enterprise Institute resident scholar and economist Aparna Mathur wrote a piece about the bad numbers, arguing that they may not be something that we can easily blame on sluggish job creation:

Every month when the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the unemployment rate, the underlying assumption in the minds of most consumers of the report, is that firms created fewer jobs and therefore hiring was low. Less well understood is the idea that while the jobs exist, firms may be unable to find workers to fill those positions.

I called Mathur to explore this idea a bit more deeply. Bear in mind that AEI, based in Washington, D.C., is generally regarded as a conservative think tank. Their resident scholars will tend to stress market-based solutions, rather than relying on government to extract us from problems.