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Trump Tax Reform Will Help Our Invisible Workforce Find Jobs

Trump Tax Reform Will Help Our Invisible Workforce Find Jobs

By    |   Wednesday, 22 November 2017 02:45 PM

The unemployment rate declined to 4.2 percent in September. That means that there are jobs for everyone who wants to work.  

But according to Forbes, since 1999, the share of U.S. adults who are either employed or job seeking has been in steady decline, revealed in a report from The Brookings Institute and The Hamilton Project.

Economists consider labor force participation a barometer of economic vitality and an indicator of household living standards. In 2016, more than a third of American adults were not part of the workforce, with nearly a fifth of them prime working age.

“All in all, the U.S. has approximately 24 million men and women of prime working age who are not part of the labor force. The report found that women with a high school education or less overwhelmingly account for the largest group of the people out of work. While there is no concrete explanation for the level of nonparticipation, self-reported reasons from the report's respondents do shed more light on the situation. All in all, 70 percent said that caregiving, disability or early retirement have kept them out of the labor market,” according to Forbes.

The dilemma is that they aren’t factored into the unemployment data.  In essence, they are invisible.

Another troubling trend is that a lot of the workers in the workforce are part-time and would prefer full-time work. Also, most job growth is in low-paying retail and food service industries. Some people have been out of work for so long that they'll never be able to return to the high-paying jobs they used to have.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that at the current rate, the economy will fully recover from the recession by 2020 and that the labor force will return to full employment or an unemployment rate between 4-5 percent. The biggest growth (5.7 million jobs) will occur in healthcare and other forms of social assistance as the American population ages.

The next largest increase (2.1 million jobs) will occur in professional and technical occupations. Most of this is in computer systems design, especially mobile technologies, and management, scientific, and technical consulting. Businesses will need advice on planning and logistics, implementing new technologies, and complying with workplace safety, environmental, and employment regulations.

This brings up the next big issue: the perceptions about a lack of skilled workers. The staffing company ManpowerGroup, for instance, reports that 52% of U.S. employers surveyed say they have difficulty filling positions because of talent shortages.

But the Wall Street Journal considers this an illusion “since some of the complaints about skill shortages boil down to the fact that employers can't get candidates to accept jobs at the wages offered. That's an affordability problem, not a skill shortage. A real shortage means not being able to find appropriate candidates at market-clearing wages. We wouldn't say there is a shortage of diamonds when they are incredibly expensive; we can buy all we want at the prevailing prices.”

The real problem, then, is more appropriately an inflexibility problem. Finding candidates to fit jobs is not like finding pistons to fit engines, where the requirements are precise and can't be varied. Jobs can be organized in many different ways so that candidates who have very different credentials can do them successfully.

For example, only about 10% of the people in IT jobs during the Silicon Valley tech boom of the 1990s had IT-related degrees. They had to be trained.

But unfortunately, it seems that American companies don't seem to do training anymore. Apprenticeship programs have largely disappeared, along with management-training programs.  And technical/trade schools carry a stigma that is keeping college- bound students from considering these as options.

Forbes notes that the shortage of opportunities to learn on-the-job helps explain the phenomenon of people queueing up for unpaid internships, in some cases even paying for an opportunity where they can work free to get access to valuable on-the-job experience.

It’s time to bring our invisible workforce into the light by creating training and apprenticeship opportunities so they are ready for the stream of good paying jobs that are coming.  It defeats the purpose of creating millions of new jobs when there aren’t enough people to fill them.  

A recent news story reported that IBM has more employees in India than in the U.S. What an indictment of our workforce when a company that defined U.S. technology leadership can’t find enough U.S. employees to fill their jobs.

Yes, part of it is that foreign wages are below those of the U.S.   But the tide is turning. U.S. companies that offshored operations are finding that in countries like China, wages are rising and the quality of work is below that of American workers.  \

And when Trump’s tax reform is passed and U.S. companies stop getting double–taxed, billions of dollars will be repatriated and invested in America to create more good paying American jobs. 

That’s when it will be safe for our invisible workforce to find the opportunities that have eluded them. They are an incredible asset to our country.

If we can bring them into the economy their contributions will be enormous in expanding productivity and expanding our tax base.

Neal Asbury is chief executive of The Legacy Companies.

© 2020 Newsmax Finance. All rights reserved.

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The unemployment rate declined to 4.2 percent in September. That means that there are jobs for everyone who wants to work. But according to Forbes, since 1999, the share of U.S. adults who are either employed or job seeking has been in steady decline.
invisible, workforce, labor
Wednesday, 22 November 2017 02:45 PM
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