Friday, October 30, 2009

Structural Unemployment In The News

In my principles of macroeconomics courses and my survey of economics course we have covered the different types of unemployment. They are seasonal, structural, frictional and cyclical. One of the articles is called Even as layoffs persist, some good jobs go begging. Here is the intro:

"In a brutal job market, here's a task that might sound easy: Fill jobs in nursing, engineering and energy research that pay $55,000 to $60,000, plus benefits.

Yet even with 15 million people hunting for work, even with the unemployment rate nearing 10 percent, some employers can't find enough qualified people for good-paying career jobs.

Ask Steve Jones, a hospital recruiter in Indianapolis who's struggling to find qualified nurses, pharmacists and MRI technicians. Or Ed Baker, who's looking to hire at a U.S. Energy Department research lab in Richland, Wash., for $60,000 each.

Economists say the main problem is a mismatch between available work and people qualified to do it. Millions of jobs with attractive pay and benefits that once drew legions of workers to the auto industry, construction, Wall Street and other sectors are gone, probably for good. And those who lost those jobs generally lack the right experience for new positions popping up in health care, energy and engineering."

The "mismatch between available work and people qualified to do it" sounds very much like how I define structural unemployment in class. This article uses one of the kinds of structural unemployment I discuss in class, when there is a fall in demand for the good or service you help produce. That is what many people face.

Another kind of structural unemployment is when you are replaced by a machine or technology. There is a computer program called "Stats Monkey" that will write a story about a baseball game when it is fed the stats from the boxscore and the complete play-by-play of the game. You can read about it at The Robots Are Coming! Oh, They’re Here. So it looks like some sports writers will be losing their jobs. This is okay as long as computer programs can't write blog entries:)


Andrew said...

Watch out for Blogbot 3000 or Econoteach V.

Cyril Morong said...

Thanks for the warning!

champ said...

this is an issue that can onlyl be corrected in the long run. Inamsuch it takes years to train for some of the occupations mentioned. Due to migration, there is no promise that those fields will still be in demand, once the structurally unemployed are done with their training. I figure that most just take up another type of trade.