Drew Greenblatt has been looking for more than a year for three sheet-metal set-up operators to work day, night or weekend shifts.
The president of Marlin Steel Wire Products, a company in Baltimore with 30 employees, Mr Greenblatt says his inability to find qualified workers is hampering his business’s growth. “If I could fill those positions, I could raise our annual revenues from $5m to $7m,” he says.
He is offering a salary of more than $80,000 with overtime, including health and pension benefits. Yet in spite of extensive advertising, he has had no qualified applicants. He is trying to train some of his unskilled staff but says none has the ability or drive to complete the training.
Mr Greenblatt’s predicament speaks to one of the biggest economic debates about today’s 8.6 per cent US unemployment rate: is it merely a cyclical problem that will shrink as demand recovers? Or is it something deeper and more structural, a “mismatch” between the skills workers have and those companies need?